The Media Association of Trinidad and Tobago (MATT) has issued a statement is response to yesterday's incident in East Port of Spain when CNC3 journalist Samuel McKnight and cameraman Mano Ragbir said they were threatened by soldiers with guns while on an assignment. The following is MATT's statement
The Media Association of Trinidad and Tobago (MATT) views as alarming the action of members of the Defence Force on Thursday, when they sought to threaten and intimidate media workers covering a legitimate story in public space in Port of Spain.
If the claim is accurate, and we have no doubt it is, that the lives of journalists were threatened by a soldier pointing a gun at them, then it must be criminally investigated and those culpable face the full extent of the law.
At the same time, law enforcements officers must be made to clearly understand the scope of their powers, and the role of the media.
MATT cannot take this matter lightly, given the continuing deterioration of relations between law enforcement and certain communities in Trinidad, and the increasing number of reports by journalists fearful of covering the news in the public interest. MATT expects National Security Ministry Gary Griffith, and the seniors with the Police Service and Defence Force will investigate this latest report and act immediately as journalists must be free from fear in carrying out their journalistic duties.
The MATT is also advising all media workers to take the necessary precautions when in the field, and that media houses ensure the security of their staff.