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Attorney General Anand Ramlogan yesterday insisted the media in T&T “should not be hyper-sensitive” in the face of criticism. He was speaking in yesterday’s Senate debate on the need to regulate the financing of election campaigns. He was commenting on a statement by Independent Senator Anthony Vieira during the debate that media houses should disclose their political affiliations. Ramlogan said the point was a worthwhile one and deserved consideration.
“We think about political affiliation of the media being disclosed in terms of what slant they are taking,” he told legislators. Ramlogan said he recalled on Tuesday he heard someone saying “TV 6 seems to be particularly biased against the Government, the other one is very favourable towards the Government. That is a matter of public perception.” He said the comment was based on the way the media covered last Friday’s debate on a private motion by Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley.
He said some newscasts carried reports of Rowley’s contribution but none of Sports Minister Anil Roberts response. “That kind of imbalance in reporting does generate that public perception,” he added, insisting that “not only is it unethical, wrong and unprincipled but it simply provides fertile ground for that kind of political suspicion.” Reminding the Senate that several people who worked in the media later became active politicians.
Those included Integrity Commission chairman Ken Gordon, Opposition Senator Diane Baldeo-Chadeesingh and Food Production Minister Devant Maharaj. He said nothing was wrong with media workers becoming politicians. “It does give rise to the question, in every case, whether the media house they came from had this latent political bias that was undisclosed and secreted within the bosom of the organisation and whether it affected the way they covered or carried their newscasts,” he added.
Ramlogan said the Government would be presenting legislation on election campaign financing in January 2016. This brought laughter as the general election is scheduled for May 2015.