In the very recent past, the issue of ‘Press Freedom’, as is currently practised, has generated a great deal of attention and diverse opinions. This is nothing new. It comes to the fore ever so often. I thought as a journalist of several decades I should say something.
When I was Managing Director and Editor in Chief of the Sun family of newspapers in Antigua and St Kitts in the early part of this century, we editorialised on the issue this way: “Freedom of the press is a phrase that can have several connotations and in many instances some can be diametrically opposed to each other. Media houses all over the world are many times pilloried for using ‘freedom of the press’ as an excuse for making dangerous forays into the world of slander and defamation.”
Such is the case in Trinidad and Tobago, where media houses, especially in radio talk shows, continually cross the imaginary line which separates fact from fiction and then hastens to claim that they were simply “reporting the news”. This practice has led to several journalists and talk show hosts ending up in court to face libel and slander charges.