ATTORNEY GENERAL Anand Ramlogan yesterday called for self-analysis and self-introspection by the media, as he took issue with columnists with the Trinidad Express newspaper.
Ramlogan said the Express columns lacked positivity and he also took issue with the newspaper's public polling of national topics in the Big Question section in which persons on the street have their responses to questions about national issues published.
"In the Express there is a poll where they put passport-size pictures. They can't seem to move past Grand Bazaar (mall at Bamboo No.1). There seems to be an anchor in Port of Spain.
"This Port of Spain-centric approach to getting the views which do not reflect the pot-pourri of Trinidad and Tobago is something we must be concerned about," said Ramlogan.
"It is not a criticism of the media but an observation that I ask them to take on board.
"Not a single columnist in the Express had one positive line to write. That kind of imbalance is something that calls for self-analysis and self-introspection by the media itself," he added.
The AG said that journalist Maxie Cuffie, a former adviser of former People's National Movement (PNM) attorney general John Jeremie, is also to return to the Guardian newspaper.
"The media has a responsibility to reflect the views of society on which it thrives and seeks to represent democracy," said Ramlogan.
During a panel discussion on Wednesday night on national television, National Security Minister and United National Congress chairman Jack Warner held up a copy of the Sunday Express newspaper, named the author of its front-page article, and spoke of her.
Yesterday, the Media Association of Trinidad and Tobago (MATT) issued a statement condemning what it described as on-going smear campaigns against investigative journalists.
"These journalists, who have been conducting legitimate investigations, now find themselves the target of anonymous e-mails being circulated on the Internet by various groups, as well as public attacks on television by senior politicians," said the MATT statement.
"Personal attacks in response to news reports are not a valid or acceptable means of discrediting the information unearthed by journalists who are simply doing their job.
"There are various channels available, including legal ones, through which public figures may obtain redress if inaccurate information about them is carried in the media," the statement added.
MATT called on Members of Parliament and party officials to deter their followers, both in public and in private, from engaging in these unwarranted attacks on journalists.
"If this trend is not rapidly checked, the association fears a trend of organised personal attacks against journalists will eventually damage the ability of the media to report fearlessly, undermine the functioning of the media, which is fundamental to all democracies, and ultimately weaken the rights of all citizens," MATT stated.
• EDITOR'S NOTE: The Express Big Question is often asked outside of Port of Spain, including San Fernando, and by reporters on assignment in various parts of Trinidad and Tobago.