Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : November 8th 2013 Contents A8
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Friday, November 8, 2013
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for NOVEMBER 07th 2013
Newly-elected San Fernando mayor Kazim Hosein
is defending his treating some 50 members of the
media to a dinner at Soong s Great Wall Restaurant,
Circular Road on Wednesday, saying it was merely
an opportunity to get to know media practition-
Hosein was criticised on social media, as some---
including other journalists---said the issue reflected
the media s propensity to take
bribes or accept gifts.
In a telephone interview
yesterday, Hosein insisted it
was nothing of the sort. He
said he invited between 22
and 25 journalists from various
media houses, but close to 50
turned up for the buffet din-
"My intention is isn t what
they are saying," Hosein said.
He said the dinner was not
paid for from the funds of the San Fernando City
Corporation but out of his own pocket.
"The entire thing was funded by me because this
is what I wanted to do.
"I don t know that there was anybody who was
PNM there. On the day I was sworn in, I was sworn
in as mayor of San Fernando and not as mayor of
the PNM," Hosein said.
Describing the media as one of the main stake-
holders in San Fernando, Hosein said the dinner was
an opportunity to improve relations.
"There is nothing like politics involved," Hosein
maintained. He said his father Rakeeb Hosein, who
was mayor of San Fernando from 1983-1987, also
hosted a similar event for the media when he came
Sunity Maharaj, director of the Lloyd Best Institute
of the West Indies, editor of the T&T Review and
former Express editor in chief, said Hosein s dinner
showed media practitioners should be guided by the
editorial policy of their particular media house.
Saying there was a "grey line" between "normal
hospitality" and wanting to bribe people, Maharaj
said there was a question of what was appropriate
"If you want to have a drink or so...but you don t
know if it is being offered as an inducement to butter
us up and to get us on our good side and establish
a line of contact that makes us unusually friendly to
a particular public official," she said.
"Media houses have to find that fine line between
normal courtesies and briberies."
Touching on the prime minister s annual distri-
bution of Christmas hampers to the media after a
luncheon at the Diplomatic Centre, Maharaj said this
was an investment in the media.
Saying it was important to set standards, she said:
"The standards have run away with us. There used
to be a period where it was normal and kind of rea-
sonable, but now it is going into a territory of open
bribery of the media."
New San Fernando mayor on dinner for media:
No bribe for journalists
One way to remove temptation from jour-
nalists, Maharaj added, was to offer better
salaries and working conditions.
Urging more discussion on the accepting of
gifts by the media, she said this was an impor-
tant issue to be ventilated and discussed.
Vice-president of the T&T Publishers and
Broadcasters Association Kiran Maharaj yes-
terday said the organisation could not comment
as it had not yet discussed the issue.
The Editorial Principles &
Operational Guidelines of One
Caribbean Media, parent company of
the Trinidad Express and TV6, do not
say that journalists should not
attend media appreciation functions
or accept gifts.
In a section on "Conflict of
Interest," they say: "No journalist
should accept any favour, gifts or
payment in exchange for coverage of
Similarly the draft new code of
ethics for Guardian Media Ltd does
not rule out attending media limes,
but says, under "Personal gain," inter
• Do not accept personal gifts
valued at more than approximately
$200. If a gift has more than a
nominal value, it may only be
accepted with the approval of the
editor in chief/head of news and the
• Do not request or accept money,
travel, goods, discounts,
entertainment or inducements of
• Bribes are to be rejected
promptly and the editor in chief/head
of news informed immediately.
• Gifts of cash or vouchers are
not to be accepted.
WHAT THE RULES SAY
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