All anniversaries are opportunities for reflection and renewal.
Today, on the 47th anniversary of the Trinidad Express, we reflect on the journey which began in 1967 when we set out on a mission to create a truly national newspaper. For the group of investors and journalists who pooled their resources to launch this newspaper, the Trinidad Express was a symbol of hope in the future of the new nation of Trinidad and Tobago which was then approaching its fifth year of independence.
Today we once again acknowledge the debt to those pioneers who had the courage to risk a venture in which few had confidence. Fortunately for us all, they weathered the storms and persisted through testing times in the conviction that a free press was indispensable to the new nation with a burning desire for democracy.
Today, as we survey the rich, multifaceted media landscape of Trinidad and Tobago, we acknowledge with profound gratitude the commitment, sacrifice and wisdom of those who laid the foundation and have helped to build the Trinidad Express into the force and institution that it is today. And we also salute the staff who have successfully carried on the mandate of excellence for the last 47 years, enduring many challenges and adapting to inevitable change.
Indeed, much has changed over 47 years. When we started off, this newspaper was just one of two daily newspapers in a starkly limited media landscape of two radio stations and the single State-owned television station. We take pride in the leadership role that we played in achieving the liberalisation which has so greatly dynamised the broadcast media. In 1987, our sustained lobby succeeded in getting the policy breakthrough that finally opened up the broadcast sector to a multiplicity of voices. Today, the large number of radio and television stations are taken for granted as an indicator of our open, multicultural society.
In journalism, this newspaper has led the way in investigative reporting and remains unrivalled as media watchdog of the public interest and the right to know. Whenever it has become necessary, we have not shirked the responsibility to speak truth to power.
Our commitment to the principles of a free press has not been without testing consequences. From time to time, we have been the target of advertising and circulation boycotts. We have been attacked on platforms of all kinds and pilloried for simply serving the public’s right to know. Throughout the years, our journalists have had to endure public and private harassment. Even as we commemorate today’s milestone anniversary, our hearts are heavy with the reality that one of journalists has had to take protective measures as a result of a threat to his life. Our investigative journalists continue to be attacked on several fronts too but have not been intimidated into submission and never will be.
In a world of increasingly high stakes, we have intimate knowledge of the lengths to which some are willing to go to silence the media and manipulate the flow of information to the public.
As we thank you, our dear readers and advertisers, for your continuing support, we of the Trinidad Express re-commit ourselves to the task of keeping you informed.
This is a responsibility that we do not take lightly and will continue to do so fearlessly.