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Rowley on Govt’s TV broadcast move: Threat to freedom of press
Leader of the Opposition Dr Keith Rowley is calling on T&T’s television broadcasters to resist “dangerous” moves by the Government to force them to broadcast “political propaganda” programmes. He said so during a news conference at his office, Charles Street, Port-of-Spain, yesterday.
Last Friday, the T&T Publishers and Broadcasters Association met with Communications Minister Jamal Mohammed at his Nicholas Towers office, Port-of-Spain, to discuss the matter. President of the association Kiran Maharaj said the broadcasters were intent on resisting the move and were seeking a legal opinion.
Rowley said yesterday the Opposition PNM was taking “strong objection” to the development as it was a threat to the freedom of the press. He said one of the proposed Government programmes, A Day in the Life of an MP, lasted for almost an hour and was to be broadcast repeatedly during prime time.
He added: “The PNM objects very strongly to the thinly veiled attempt to use the private-sector media to bombard the population with government propaganda.” He said the Government also was claiming if the broadcasters rejected the measure they would be in breach of their licence agreements. Rowley said the Opposition did not share that view.
He said: “It was never the spirit and the letter of the law that this is to be countenanced. We are calling on broadcasters in this free and independent republic to test this matter in the court. If the Government is prepared to go down this road it should be resisted.” On the appointment of former parliamentary secretary in the Foreign Affairs and Communications Ministry, Nicole Dyer-Griffith, as inspector of missions, Rowley said: “It is unacceptable and it is a slap in the face of all our citizens.”
He said Dyer-Griffith was not qualified for the job. “It is the latest in a series of outrages.”
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