Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 20th 2015 Contents A4
The Media Association of T&T (MATT) has called
on the T&T Police Service to swiftly investigate
threats of murder, physical assault, nuisance legal
action and cyber bullying against journalists.
The association also called on State-owned media
house CNMG to end slanderous and defamatory
contributions from callers and immediately effect
responsible moderating on-air by its presenters.
This follows verbal attacks online and threats of
physical attacks by political party supporters toward
While MATT focussed mainly on journalists who
had made police reports on the threats, many other
journalists receive threats and harassment from polit-
ical party supporters regularly.
In a statement yesterday, the MATT executive
expressed solidarity with journalists who had been
and continued to be subjected to intimidation, slander,
defamation and bullying in broadcast media and on
"MATT takes note of the numerous journalists
from various media houses targeted for vicious attacks
on-air and online.
We are deeply concerned about ongoing threats
to free and open media coverage, including threats
of murder, physical assault, cyber bullying and nui-
sance legal action against journalists that unduly
limit their freedom of expression, particularly during
the election season."
MATT made three requests of the Police Service,
including swiftly investigating the report made by
Express investigative journalist Denyse Renne on
June 15, 2015, and the threat reported by Express
investigative journalist Asha Javeed in Octo-
ber 2013 and two serious reports of
cyber attacks filed also by Javeed this
The association also called on
the police to outline its policing
policy on cyber bullying which
it said had become a per-
ilous, far-reaching threat
to Trinidad and Tobago s
"Protecting freedom of
attacks on working journal-
ists by holding political parties
and leaders to account and
promoting open debate by all
citizens is also the responsibility
of the TTPS. The TTPS must
promptly investigate such attacks
when they do occur and bring
those responsible to justice.
MATT said it recognised that
incumbent governments benefitted
from disproportionate media cov-
erage, from their control of state-
owned media houses and often from
of their wider economic reach.
"This places an additional duty of
care on State-owned media to act
MATT insists that Government and
leaders of all political parties must
make clear their zero tolerance
for supporters who slander,
defame and threaten jour-
nalists. Political parties
cannot continue to remain
silent while attacks against
journalists are launched
and sustained in their
In light of the recent stabbing of a third form
student at Mason Hall Secondary School in Tobago,
the National Parent Teacher Association (NPTA)
is calling for a Parent Complaints Authority to be
The incident occurred around 8 am on Wednesday
on the school s compound. The student was stabbed
in the forehaed, back and chest with a knife.
The association s president Zena Ramatali expressed
concern that complaints by parents were not being
addressed, adding meetings with Education Minister
Dr Tim Gopeesingh were infrequent.
On the North Oropouche Government Primary
School, she said valuable teaching time was lost due
to persistent problems at the school.
"One of the complaints by parents is that there
issues are not addressed. Just like the Police Com-
plaints Authority we need a Parent Complaints
Authority," Ramatali said.
And second vice-president of the T&T Unified
Teachers Association (TTUTA) Lynsley Doodhai has
reiterated the call for metal detectors to be placed
in some schools.
Doodhai said while the idea was not new, it was
urgently needed to safeguard the loss of life and
"The introduction of metal detectors is not a new
idea because, as far as I am aware, metal detectors
are at some of the high-risk schools to help alleviate
the entry of weapons into the compound," Doodhai
But he added in light of the incident it was probably
wise to examine the possibility of placing metal
detectors in all schools. He said while several initiatives
have been implemented to tackle the issue of school
violence there was the constant need for further dis-
"When these things happen in our schools the
ministry quickly put initiatives in place but these
initiatives fall flat over a period of time and then we
have the same problem cropping up again.
"There needs to be some sort of prolonged imple-
mentation of this," Doodhai added.
In 2013, 14-year-old Renaldo Dixon, who was
stabbed during at fight at the Waterloo Secondary
subsequently died at the
Freeport Health Facility.
In a statement issued by
the Tobago House of
Assembly s Division of Education, Youth
Affairs and Sport, it said immediate steps had been
taken to address the matter.
"Representatives of the Student Support Services
and School Supervision Units of the Department of
Education were deployed and met with members of
staff, students and affected families.
"In an effort to alleviate any short-term or long-
term effects on our students and staff, trauma and
post-traumatic strategies will be implemented over
the next couple of weeks," it said. (See Page A7)
swift probe on
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