Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : January 26th 2014 Contents A10
Sunday Guardian www.guardian.co.tt January 26, 2014
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St Joseph MP Terrence Deyals-
ingh has appealed to the Govern-
ment to establish laws to guard
against citizens who have their
characters defamed by Facebook
users and bloggers.
Deyalsingh said one such group
of people whose characters are
repeatedly ridiculed on the social
media was politicians.
The issue was raised by Deyals-
ingh in the House of Representatives
on Friday as the Libel and Defama-
tion (Amendment) Bill 2013 was
Deyalsingh said very often sup-
porters of party A would ridicule
supporters of party B and vice versa
"I have seen caricatures of mem-
bers opposite me on Facebook. I
have seen caricatures of members
of the Opposition with guns and
Nazi salute, and I find all these
things are utterly distasteful. This
has no place in Trinidad."
The guilty parties involved,
Deyalsingh said, should be con-
"You know who you are. I take
no joy in that. Why can't we look
at Internet publishing."
Deyalsingh said what the Gov-
ernment should do was engage the
House with laws to control internet
He also proposed that fines be
imposed on owners of media houses
rather than journalists.
"And the fines have to be as such
that it is an equivalent to jail time."
Deyalsingh said the Government
was only cherry picking Clause 9,
which can open a pandora box that
they might never be able to close.
Diego Martin Central MP Dr
Amery Browne says local jour-
nalists are among the lowest paid
employees in T&T.
Browne said the poor salaries of
journalists was one issue the Gov-
ernment had failed to raise as the
debate of the Libel and Defamation
(Amendment) Bill continued in
Parliament on Friday.
Browne said there are many
issues affecting journalists, among
them losing their life and limb while
on and off the job. He said if the
AG had spoken to journalists about
matters affecting them, he would
have realised that the amendment
to the bill was not one of them.
"This bill is not treating with
that at all. This bill does nothing
to protect them."
Browne said one concern of jour-
nalists was the "threats to their
"Pizza people assume other-
wise...They (journalists) are paid
very, very small salaries. And that
encourages them to moonlight,
consult...do lots of other things."
Browne said many journalists
complain about their salaries
offline. While the threat of press
freedom may not necessarily come
from the Government, Browne said
it occurs right within the media
Chaguanas West MP Jack Warner
says he was "part of a team" that
scrutinised advertisements placed in
the daily newspapers that were
critical of the Government.
Warner said Government
ministers had the habit of perusing
the daily newspapers to see which
newspapers carried advertisements
which were critical of the
"I was part of that team. This is
nothing I am proud about. They are
giving the impression that we are all
angels. It is happening still. I want to
tell you that efforts are still being
made by the Government to muzzle
the press as far as holding back ads,"
However, Attorney General Anand
Ramlogan insisted that no such
thing ever took place, branding
Warner a stranger to the truth.
Warner said the Government took
a decision not to place any
advertisement in his weekly
newspaper Sunshine, but warned
that his publication would survive
with or without their support.
Warner raised the matter during
the Libel and Defamation
(Amendment) Bill 2013 in the House
of Representatives on Friday. He also
trained his guns on radio talk show
hosts, whom he said were degrading
the profession of journalists as many
of them spoke badly.
"They don't know syntax. The
good for them is mauvais langue."
Warner questioned if Ramlogan
had any consultation with the Media
Association of T&T, Law Association
and the T&T Publishers and
Broadcasters Association before
piloting the bill. (SH)
Jack: Efforts still being made by Govt to muzzle the press
T&T journalists among lowest paid---Browne
YOUR GUIDE TO CARNIVAL FETES PAGE A19
St Joseph MP Terrence Deyalsingh
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