Police Commissioner Gary Griffith yesterday denied that police officers raided the offices of Jaagriti TV. He said the officers did not use a heavy-handed approach to obtain a copy of audio-visual material for their investigations.
In a media release yesterday, Giffith said officers from the Special Investigation Unit went “peacefully and respectfully” to the media house with a search warrant for a copy of a programme which had been making the rounds on social media.
“Officers first showed the warrant to the station manager and respectfully waited in the reception area for the arrival of its CEO, Mr Satnarayan Maharaj,” the release stated.
“Upon his arrival at the station, Mr Maharaj was shown the search warrant and peacefully cooperated with the officers. Two of his attorneys arrived a short while later and while speaking to him in his office, police allowed his lawyers to read the document as well.”
Griffith described subsequent statements by the Media Association of T&T (MATT) on the matter as “inaccurate and misleading” and claimed police officers involved in the exercise were falsely accused of unprofessional conduct and intimidation.
He said the T&T Police Service (TTPS) will continue its inquiries into the mather and “stands firmly on its mandate to ensure law and order.”
However, the incident continued to attract criticisms yesterday, with the National Trade Union Centre (NATUC) calling for the resignation of the board of the Telecommunications Authority of T&T (TATT).
The trade union body said it “condemns the blatant violation and total disregard for the fundamental rights of Radio Jaagriti, to be heard and confront their accusers against any allegations made against them, real or imaginary.”
In a statement, General Secretary Michael Annisette said: “The rights of all citizens to be given a fair chance to be heard in their defence must be respected by all. The unmistaken, one-sided, coercive and manipulative use by the TATT of their regulatory rules against Radio Jaagriti must be resisted, if only to protect our country from sinking into tribalism and divisiveness.
“We in NATUC views the shameful and undemocratic act of the TATT as being corrosive and potentially dangerous to our democratic right to freedom of speech.”