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COP defends free media

The Congress of the People (COP) has come out in defence of a free media in the country.

In a statement Saturday, the COP said that it is regrettable that statements made on a platform of a member of the governing coalition may have belittled a media practitioner.

"The COP views the developments in the relationship between the Government and the national media with grave concern.

"The COP is of the view that appearance of such a relationship which is or appears to be antagonistic is not a healthy development for good governance in Trinidad and Tobago.

"In keeping with our founding principles and our commitment to maintaining the highest standard of good governance and defence of the democratic rights of all citizens, the COP stands in defence of a free media.

"The COP believes that the standard of journalism in Trinidad and Tobago is good but there is always room for improvement. The party admits that from time to time the media, like all other professions will make errors," the release added.

Freedom of the press, the COP stated, is an important aspect of the rights enshrined in the Constitution and all democratic states recognise the media as the watchdog for society and has a critical responsibility to the citizens in the provision of information on which the population may assess political and other developments.

"Therefore, the media is a strong pillar for a healthy democracy. Executive director of the International Press Institute (IPI), Alison Bethel McKenzie, earlier (last) week stated "in a democratic state such as Trinidad and Tobago, newspapers and broadcasters have the right to express their political opinions and report on the issues".

"We encourage the media to practise their journalism in a professional and responsible manner always mindful of their duty in the service of the public right to know and their importance to our democracy," the COP stated.

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