Report to the IAPA
March 28, 2020


Some governments are still determined to affect how the media perform their functions.


The government attempted to introduce legislation, which would have protected Cabinet documents for some 70 years instead of the current 20 years.

According to one media leader that in face objections, the government seems hell-bent on passing the legislation.

The Gleaner newspaper said in an editorial "What the Government was proposing goes against international standards and norms where the move is to increase access. In some countries, there is what is called a 30-year rule, which relates to the release of archival records when they are 30 years old."

There has been a dramatic fall off in advertising as businesses struggle to deal with the impact of the measures introduced by government. The Prime Minister has been the lead of using social media platforms extensively in the public education programs and press conference updates.

Similar approaches have been seen in other Caribbean countries.


The David Granger government in Georgetown has sought to silence its critics ahead of the March 2 general elections by imposing a measure to starve the Stabroek News of newsprint.

It is reminiscent of a similar practice of the dark days of the Forbes Burnham regime in the 1970s, which drew the ire of the regional and international bodies.

The media has come under intense pressure before and after the general elections of March 2, a vote which has still be finalized. Media workers are reporting intimidation from several parties and direct threats to their physical wellbeing.

A media association called for political parties and their supporters to cease from creating conditions for the perpetuation of media harassment and the dampening of press freedom.

Trinidad and Tobago

The latest attempt by government agencies against the media has come with the shocking invasion by police of the offices of the Editor-in-Chief of the Trinidad Express, Omatie Lyder.

The raid sought to find evidence of the newspaper's reporting on financial activities which the paper reported was against the Deputy Commissioner of Police who at the time acting as Commissioner of Police, Gary Griffith who as on leave.

The invasion of the Editor's office was condemned by the Media Association of Trinidad and Tobago as well as several regional news organizations. The matter is now before the law courts for judicial review.

Journalists have come under pressure as they attempt to cover the COVID 19 pandemic and its effects of the lives of residents. The Media Association called for an end to harassment of journalists.

One hour after the Ministry of Health instructed the public to adhere strictly to isolation protocols during the Covid-19 pandemic, security personnel at a major public health institution aggressively flouted those directives for the purpose of physically and verbally assaulting journalists.

These assaults on journalists by Amalgamated Security Ltd officers stationed at the San Fernando General Hospital are not new. MATT, journalists and media have over the years urged officials at the hospital to address the abusive behaviour of their security staff.

Journalist Cindy Raghubar-Teekersingh of TV6 South Bureau was injured and her media equipment was damage.

In footage captured by the media, two security officers are seen shouting into the faces of journalists and physically manhandling them, despite the entreaties of the journalists who were backing away in order to "stay away."

Raghubar-Teekersingh and her colleagues from state-owned TTT and the Trinidad Express Newspaper were at the time gathering cutaways in the public carpark of the hospital where a viral tent is located. Although journalists have a right to be in carpark, Raghubar-Teekersingh took the additional precaution of securing permission to be there from the hospital's Corporate Communications Department in the person of Mr. Kevon Gervais.