President Anthony Carmona took traditional and social media to task yesterday as he slammed newspapers for becoming "garbage dumps" and lamented the rise of "armchair journalism."
Carmona has now called on all law-abiding citizens to take a stand as he declared that "enough is enough."
Over the past week Carmona has been called upon to answer questions about the purchase of Italian wine bottled with the embossed label "Presidential House Sparkling Wine, Office of the President of Trinidad and Tobago" and bearing the country's coat of arms as well as his decision to have a meeting with National Security Minister Edmund Dillon without reference to Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley.
Carmona, who has signalled his intention to address the queries tomorrow, yesterday warned those in the Mercy Village at the Jean Pierre Complex, Port-of-Spain, of the "slings and arrows" they will face in life.
Carmona's address at Mercy Village was his first jab at the media.
The Mercy Village which was launched yesterday was organised in the name of the Archdiocese of Port-of-Spain as part of the church's celebration of the Jubilee Year of Mercy.
The Mercy Village is aimed at encouraging the nation's youth to take a more active role in the country's development.
"We must ensure that we in fact become creatures of empathy, compassion, selflessness. And service to humanity must be our philosophy because ladies and gentlemen we will in fact suffer the slings and arrows of those who are holding on to the Devil's tail and there are many in our society who would not countenance good when they see it, who will condemn good when it comes knocking on their door, who will in fact pervert the descriptions of what is in fact being done for the good of Trinidad and Tobago and this happens throughout the world," Carmona said.
"That is why ladies and gentlemen, young men and women we have to evangelise on a different level, we have to tell the newspapers and social media and all of them that enough is enough. We have to tell the CEOs (Chief Executive Officers) and the managing directors and the editors of newspapers that in fact your newspaper is not a garbage dump because I remember, I remember ladies and gentlemen when in fact I saw an article where they referred that there are in this world two St Thomas 'Aquinasses' and my religion was mocked, my Christianity was mocked and I felt in the circumstances that will not deter me from invoking the power of God in public places and we must not be afraid of our religion, we must not in fact concede to those who are non-believers to those who are agnostics, to those who are doubting Thomases because you know what ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, we believe in the power of God, we believe that in fact there is a God that will bring miracles to this land of ours," he said.
In his Republic Day address to the nation Carmona continued his criticism of the media as he slammed those who engage in "armchair journalism."
Carmona said "moral authority" is diminishing in this country.
"On this Republic Day, I ask you citizens to remember some of the great journalists and television personalities of the past. To name a few, George John, John Babb, Therese Mills, Hazel Ward, Holly Betaudier and Owen Baptiste. They continue to be my standard and I feel they must become our standard. Their stewardship was marked by civility, probity, comity, simple good manners and decency. There is simply too much journalistic overreach going on today," Carmona said.
"There are some journalists, and I repeat some, who denigrate without evidential basis engaged in armchair journalism who hear something by the way and it becomes reliable news. There are persons in reality media, who are bad examples for our children and the youth of this nation," he said.
"Decent, law-abiding citizens must take a stance because it appears that offensive is in and decency is out. Theirs has become the language of obscenity and racial slurs–yes, that small circle that is leading the national dialogue, you are not the voice of the people because you have unfettered and unfair access to the press and media, because you have created vlogs and videos that rely for viewership and followers, not on proper and responsible research and wisdom, but on distortions and sensationalism. Fairness, respect and international knowledge are still very much in and will always be the standard and foundation of a progressive society," Carmona said.