Rambally: Rowley attempting to stifle the media he doesn’t approve of

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Rambally: Rowley attempting to stifle the media he doesn’t approve of

UNC MP Dinesh Rambally said the decision by Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley to ban journalists Robert Amar, online site AZP News and others from attending a press briefing at the Diplomatic Centre is a total violation of press freedom and yet another assault on our democratic principles.

In a release Tuesday, Rambally said Rowley is using the bizarre distinction that only “mainstream media” will be allowed to enter the Diplomatic Center. The use of the term “mainstream media” to justify the ban is arbitrary and can be stretched to fit the PM’s preferences.

He said, “One suspects it’s the fact that Mr Amar publicly debunked the prime minister’s false claim that he never appointed Wendell Mottley to oversee negotiations in the infamous Sandals fiasco when Rowley had in fact done so, which has earned Mr Amar his ban from the center.”

Rambally added, “Rowley saying he “can’t let every Tom, Dick and Harry” is all the more absurd given that Mr Amar is in possession of a state-sanctioned broadcast license and AZP News is run by Mr Prior Beharry, a journalist of long standing repute within the local media landscape.

According to Rambally, Rowley is simply attempting to stifle the media he doesn’t approve of.

“I know Dr Rowley has little regard for our constitution, but I wish to remind him of Section 4(k) which provides the guarantee of freedom of press. It doesn’t say that only the “mainstream press” is free. All media/journalists in Trinidad and Tobago benefit from this fundamental right and the democratic principles enshrined in our constitution.”

Rowley’s latest action, said Rambally, “is illustrative of another creeping trait of a deeply dictatorial and oppressive regime. Today, Rowley is targeting Robert Amar and AZP news, tomorrow he will be targeting all media outlets which he considers to be critical of him regardless of whether they are mainstream media or not.”