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Grenada Rowle Titus, editor of the paper Grenada Advocate, was dismissed on April 2 from his post, after Richard Simon, the Press Secretary to Prime Minister, Tillman Thomas, complained that a March 9 article about alleged fighting in the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) was inaccurate and requested an apology or a retraction of the article. Regional and international media organizations called on Thomas to distance himself from the allegations that his administration was stifling press freedom and in a statement the government stoutly defend its record on relations with the media. The Grenada Advocate published a front page apology to the government, saying “it is inclined to believe that there were inaccuracies in the story and apologizes for any inconvenience caused the Prime Minister and his Cabinet”. Jamaica With the change in administration after the election on December 29th, the MAJ, PAJ (media and press associations) and some original members of the reform working committee have submitted to the new Minister of Justice suggested corrections and additions to the proposed libel bill, which he has promised to take a position on with the caveat that substantial changes would likely cause lengthy delays to the process. The MAJ has requested that the minister highlight those changes acceptable to him which if acceptable to media would allow the quickest resolution. The dialogue continues. Surinam The Surinamese parliament approved on April 4th an amnesty law for crimes against humanity under the past military dictatorship, which would grout immunity to, among others, the murders of five journalists in the Fort Zeelandia military barracks on 8 December 1982, including Andre Kamperveen, the owner and manager of Radio ABC, Frank Wijngaarde, a Radio ABC reporter, and three print media journalists, Leslie Rahman, Bram Behr and Jozef Slagveer. According to old reports, soldiers torched the premises of Radio ABC, Radio Radika and the daily newspaper De Vrije Stem. No media was allowed to operate during this period aside from the state radio SRS and the daily De Ware Tijd. Days after the amnesty was approved the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) reminded that amnesty acts should never apply to cases of serious human rights violations to which the framework of international obligations to protect human rights apply. Trinidad & Tobago The conduct of criminal investigations affecting two media entities—CCN TV6 and the daily newspaper Newsday—has spotlighted concerns over application of the press freedom right provided in the Constitution. Concerns have been voiced by media entities and media-related organizations, and also by the Prime Minister, other Cabinet Ministers, the Parliamentary Opposition Leader, and a former Prime Minister and a former Attorney General. Outpourings of sentiment, ranging from outrage to demands for explanations, came in response to the following developments on February 9, 2012: Police officers obtained and used a warrant from the court to enter and search the Port of Spain offices of Newsday. The officers inspected documents and took away a computer and flash drives used by a reporter. Using a second warrant, police officers searched the home of the same Newsday reporter and took away three personal computers. The Newsday searches-and-seizures followed a letter from the police requesting from the reporter the source of his December 20, 2011 story about a “Bitter row” between members of the Integrity Commission. The Integrity Commission chairman had deemed information released in that story a violation of confidentiality provisions of the Integrity in Public Life Act, which he reported as a matter for police investigation. The police wrote to seven directors of CCN, parent company of TV6 and the Trinidad Express newspaper, requesting interviews. According to the police letter, the interviews concern alleged breaches of the Telecommunications Act and the Sexual Offences Act which were alleged to have occurred during the TV6 broadcast of the “Crime Watch” programme on October 25 and October 26, 2011. The above developments were inevitably linked to the December 29, 2011 unnecessary show of force by police officers as they sought to obtain dvd material on a Crime Watch episode. On this occasion, 18+ police officers, some of these officers heavily-armed, locked down the building and blocked the free movement of staff and visitors. This show of force was done in spite of claims by TV6 management that they had previously adopted a co-operative stance with officers involved in an earlier exercise. That law-enforcement authorities show new, over-reaching zeal in investigating and prosecuting media entities reflects the state of the law, which is available for such application. No known law prohibits the shake-down kind of visitations to which media houses have been subject

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