Friday, November 7, 2008

THE PM & POWER 102 (5)

Here's the Media Association's response to the PM's statements at the post-cabinet press briefing.

"Freedom of speech is enshrined in Section 4 of the Constitution of Trinidad and Tobago. The Media Association takes this opportunity to remind its members and all members of the population that we have a responsibility and right to comment on the actions of public officials and issues of national importance.

"While we agree Mr. Patrick Manning has the same rights as any other citizen, a prime minister has greater power, which should be exercised in the public interest, with due care and responsibility.

"MATT notes it is not the first time, nor will it be the last time, a Prime Minister has taken issue with a media house. Mr. Manning has every right to consult his lawyers whenever he feels aggrieved.

"The association notes that in the Privy Council’s 1936 ruling in the Ambard case, Lord Atkin said, “The path of criticism is an open way: the wrongheaded are permitted to err therein.”

"With regard to the Prime Minister’s statement that “expecting redress from the media is asking too much,” MATT begs to differ. Individual media houses have mechanisms for dealing with such matters and members of the public are also free to ask the Media Complaints Council to intervene if they are not satisfied.

"MATT maintains its position that the Prime Minister’s visit to 94.1fm was inappropriate and unnecessary.

"Marlan Hopkinson
"Media Association of Trinidad and Tobago"