Bridgetown, Barbados. December 3, 2019.
The Caribbean Broadcasting Union (CBU) is shocked and concerned about allegations that Trinidad and Tobago Police Commissioner, Gary Griffith, has made what journalists at the Trinidad Express consider to be threats against their safety and that of their families.
In a statement on Tuesday, the regional media body says it is unheard of that the head of the country’s police force could be the one allegedly causing people to fear for their safety.
“The twin island republic has between 2017 and now dropped five places on the World Press Freedom Index, as measured by ‘Reporters Without Borders’ and it would be expected that all would be done to reverse that trend, but threats on journalists or against anyone in the media, would have the opposite effect”, the statement said.
The CBU is calling on the Police Services Commission and other law enforcement bodies to look into these reports and take every step to calm the situation, secure assurances from the Commissioner that these media workers have no need to fear and return the profession in the region to comfort in its interaction with this country’s top cop.
The CBU, which this year held its 50th Annual General Assembly, says it has several members in Trinidad and Tobago and they have over the years been proud of their tradition of a free press. It says that at this time when consumers are looking for credible and reliable sources of information and news, those doing a professional job should not be intimidated.
In societies where higher than usual levels of crime and violence challenge authorities, good partnerships between law enforcement and the media can be to the benefit of the society, but the trust of citizens would only exist if there is mutual respect in the relationship.
“The CBU stands ready to help in any way it can to defuse tensions in this matter and restore normalcy in the journalistic and police relations,” the CBU said.