IAPA concerned at 'cyberbullying' of journalists in Trinidad and Tobago
MIAMI, Florida (June 13, 2016)—The Inter American Press Association (IAPA) today expressed concern about actions of cyberbullying against journalists in Trinidad and Tobago who have been the object of numerous attacks on their professional and personal integrity in reprisal for their news coverage.
In a detailed report on "cyberbullying" in the nation the vice president for the English-speaking Caribbean of the IAPA's Committee on Freedom of the Press and Information, Shida Bolai, CEO of the Caribbean Communications Network, detailed the most recent cases of intimidation and defamation of journalists through social media.
Asha Javeed, an investigative reporter with the Trinidad Express newspaper, has been harassed and insulted on Facebook after reporting on distribution of subsidized state housing. Also the victim of "cyberbullying" was the newspaper's editor-in-chief, Omatie Lyder. Other journalists of the same newspaper who have been vilified on social media for their work are Denyse Renne, Ria Taitt and Anna Ramdass.
Bolai declared, "The 'cyberbullying' threat comes from what so far appears to be an unstoppable form of vicious personal and institutional molestation, designed to be, and capable of, the intimidation of free expression."
Claudio Paolillo, chairman of the IAPA's Committee on Freedom of the Press and Information, said, "When social media are used as a tool to punish, denigrate and defame, alleging invented situations such as in this case, we are referring to cyber-attack as another form of attack on the press."
Paolillo, editor of the Montevideo, Uruguay, weekly Búsqueda, added his voice to the request of the Media Association of Trinidad and Tobago (MATT) that the police investigate the numerous attacks on and threats to media and journalists on the Internet that they have been denouncing since 2013.
The IAPA is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the defense and promotion of freedom of the press and of expression in the Americas. It is made up of more than 1,300 print publications from throughout the Western Hemisphere and is based in Miami, Florida. For more information please go to http://www.sipiapa.org.