Govt trying to control the media
During Kamla Persad-Bissessar's swearing in as Prime Minister in 2010, she commended the media for keeping the Government and State officials in check, and encouraged them to criticise any wrongdoing or blunder that would arise as a result of her administration, or any member of it.
Numerous blunders have arisen since the inception of the latest Government, starting with the botched promise and resulting dispute of the land-grabbing only a few weeks after the swearing in, and concluding, most recently, with the Section 34 fiasco.
In between were also many controversies, such as the Reshmi affair, the firing and discarding of numerous ministers, including Mary King, Herbert Volney, Therese Baptiste-Cornelis (and also from her Geneva diplomatic posting), Collin Partap, John Sandy and, in my opinion, much unfairly, Verna St Rose Greaves.
The Cabinet has been reshuffled twice, rearranging the majority of ministers' positions without any proper explanation or justification for these new postings. The murder toll still accelerates, despite the failed limited State of Emergency procedure and a resigned commissioner of police.
All of these events stated are not rumours, projections or speculations. These actually happened, and were reported as much, perhaps with more emphasis than Jack Warner might have preferred.
Jack Warner has criticised the media of having an "axe to grind" with the current Government but Mr Warner should also remember how the supporters of the PNM clamoured and blamed those same media houses for the downfall of Patrick Manning.
Just as the People's Partnership had the aforementioned controversies, so had the PNM's been highlighted headline after headline: Calder Hart, the jet, the prophetess, the palace, the blimps, the Summits, the $2 million flag, the church in Guanapo, the breakfasses. The media may brutalise or vulgarise some situations, but they have never been particular of any party or government, in my opinion.
From my experience of bold-red headlines, I've learnt that the media's sales product is bad news. Bad news simply sells more than good news. This is not indigenous to Trinidad. The whole world "like a bacchanal" when it comes to the press.
A politician criticises the media just as a boatsman would criticise the ocean on which he must sail. Without the media, politicians nowadays would not be built, nor could they be toppled.
However, it seems the current administration now wishes to not only steer the ship but control the tides, as Mr Warner has expressed interest in buying the Newsday and Mirror media houses, as indicated by a headline on August 25.
In addition to this, I had read an article stating that Communications Minister Jamal Mohammed wished to have one hour per day of programming dedicated to its own accomplishments.
Coincidentally, there had been a petition passing around the social networks that was linked to the interest in broadcasting more local content. I hope this petition and Mr Mohammed's announcement are not connected.
Kevin Jared Hosein