IPI: Drop ‘Nation’ charges
The International Press Institute (IPI) has called on law enforcement officials in Barbados to drop all criminal charges against the publisher, editor-in-chief and a senior reporter at The Nation newspaper.
Authorities last week charged Roy Morris, editor-in-chief of The Nation, and senior journalist Sanka Price, along with their publisher, Vivian-Anne Gittens, with publishing an indecent photograph of two minors in connection with a story about sexual activity in a rural school in Barbados.
The three were released after posting Bds$5,000 bail each and forfeiting their travel documents. They are to reappear in court on March 11. They face up to five years in prison if convicted of the charges.
“While the tactfulness of the photograph has been called into question by some, we unequivocally support The Nation’s right and, I dare say, its duty to provide the public with critical — if sometimes difficult — information about society, its values and its governance,” IPI executive director Alison Bethel McKenzie said in a statement from the IPI’s headquarters in Vienna, Austria. “Therefore, we join with our partner, the Association of Caribbean Media Workers and our colleagues at Jamaica’s The Gleaner in pointing out the chilling effect on investigative journalism and press freedom that these arrests will cause.”
She added: “We ask that the Commissioner of Police drop the charges against Ms Gittens, Mr Morris and Mr Price, post-haste.”
The Nation Publishing Company Ltd is a subsidiary of One Caribbean Media, owners of the Express newspapers and ccn TV6.