CNC3 has issued an apology over the airing of a news report on Crime Watch host Ian Alleyne's clash with TV rival Roger Alexander, in which a brief segment of the videotape of the incident had been cut.
In the segment that was edited out, Alleyne could be heard swearing at Alexander, once, briefly.
The did-he-or-didn't-he mattered, because Alleyne charged that Alexander had used unreasonable force and was unjustified in physically removing him from a suspect's yard, where he'd gone to shoot a segment for his Crime Watch show. Alexander's accusation that Alleyne had used coarse language was central to the policeman's defence in justifying his removal of Alleyne.
Last Friday, a news report by TV6, on which Alexander co-presents his Beyond The Tape programme, highlighted the edit. On Sunday, the Media Association of Trinidad and Tobago (MATT) weighed in, saying that CNC3 had breached journalistic ethics by not informing the public that the video had been altered.
CNC3 yesterday insisted that there was no intentional deception with the edit, and it had been done on the grounds of good taste and decency.
"In our desire to abide by the provision of the Telecommunications Act, we removed offensive material from the video of Mr Alleyne, which was not lawfully fit to be published in a newscast," the CNC3 statement read.
"In hindsight, we recognise that we should have also publicly indicated that an obscenity was used. If any of our viewers were misled, we unreservedly apologise."
The accusations stung journalists at a station which hosts the most-watched TV evening prime time newscast in T&T, fronted by some of the most respected names in TV journalism. CNC3, however, defended its reputation for fair and accurate reporting.
"Since its inception, CNC3 News has always upheld the highest standards of journalism, and we recommit ourselves to those," the statement began by saying.
It added: "We wish to make it clear that at no point did CNC3 intend to deliberately mislead the public in our reporting on the arrest of Alleyne."