Kamla denies political interference in situation at Trinidad newspaper

PORT-OF-SPAIN, Trinidad, Thursday July 11, 2013 - Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar says she was not aware of any kind of political interference by her that could have led to the resignation of employees from the Trinidad Guardian newspaper .

“I have not spoken to anyone at the Guardian, either board members or reporters at the Guardian. I speak to the reporters from time to time when you (interview me), when you ask me questions. I’ve had no conversations with anyone and therefore there’s no interference from the Partnership and certainly from the UNC as far as I’m aware,” the Prime Minister told the Trinidad Express newspaper.

Concerning the government’s position on freedom of the press, she said: “I’ve spoken repeatedly and you will realise I’ve never ever attacked the media even when you attack me sometimes and I don’t mean it in a bad way. I’ve never, ever in my 28 years in public life, you could check my history and my record, I have never interfered with freedom of the press and indeed we went so far, my government recently moved a part of the criminal libel law against journalists and reporters. I remain committed to freedom of the press and with respect to what happened at the Guardian, I really don’t know, I can’t say, but I do know I spoke to no one at the Guardian.”

She said while some believe that the media scrutinises her government more than previous administrations that is not her opinion.

“I am not of that view. We are in a new world in a new time, new technology and so on and that’s the job, that’s your job, the media has their job, I have mine and we continue to work harmoniously,” she said.

The Managing Director of Guardian Media Limited, Gabriel Faria has also reiterated the Prime Minister’s stance stating that the company has not bowed to pressure for the political directorate of the day following the walk out by journalists amid reported government pressure on the board of directors to have Editor-in-Chief, Judy Raymond “re-assigned”.

Faria stressed that the media entity was in full support of “fair, balanced and accurate reporting by its reporters.” He said he has been fully supportive of the media team, and that the group has been providing the necessary training and equipment to compete at the highest level. (CMC) Click here to receive free news bulletins via email from Caribbean360. (View sample)