Information minister denies plans to muzzle Dominica media


Information Minister Kelvar Darroux

ROSEAU, Dominica, Wednesday March 11, 2015, CMC – The Dominica government Wednesday denied suggestions that it is moving towards muzzling the media here even as it called on media practitioners to exercise more responsibility when carrying out their activities.

Information Minister Kelvar Darroux said while he stood behind recent statements attributed to him, the Roosevelt Skerrit administration had no plans to introduce legislation to shut down certain media houses.

But he said media houses had a responsibility to ensure that their reports were factual and acknowledged that legislation would be reviewed to guide the operations of media.

“The government has no intention of shutting down any media house. Clearly that is not the role of the government. This is a democracy, people have a right to speak, people have a right to freedom of expression, the evidence is here to show that because over the last decade and more we have heard the operatives of the opposition on the radio stations clearly voicing their opinions,’ Darroux said on state-owned DBS.

He told radio listeners that the government, which was re-elected to office last December, embraces free expression “but at the same time free expression also comes with responsibility and that is why the media have a role to play that there is responsible journalism”.

He said there have been instances “where certain media houses” have published information that has proven to be not factual.

“The statement that I made I stand firmly by this statement and I believe that the media have to educate, inform and to send out factual information as it relates to news and other information,” he said.

Last week, Darroux appearing on a government programme told listeners that if information is not properly “reproduced and sent out” then you may have difficulties.

“We are looking at some of the legislation to guide the process which is important and all of this I believe when it is completed we will see a difference in how information is.

“A lot of the times you may listen o certain talk shows…and people just say things out of their minds. Information going out there doesn’t only stay here and if you send out the wrong information you can have a negative impact on some of the listeners out there.

“Information has to be critically looked at, that is to say, based on what you plan to send out there you have to ensure that it is censored, you have to ensure that it is not just saying what you want, but you have the facts and at the end of the day, the listenership or the viewership…they get the right information,” Darroux said.

He warned that ‘sending out the wrong information can have drastic consequences.

“The media in Dominica have a responsibility to ensure that they send out the correct information. If you are not sure as to what the facts are, you as a media practitioner, has a responsibility to do your research to get the facts and to send out your story,” said darroux.

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