Trinidadian Senator joins Port Of Spain Media NGO in celebrating World Press Freedom Day
‘I reaffirm the Government’s loyal commitment to a free media‘ were the opening words of Trade, Industry, Investment and Communications Minister, Vasant Bharath at the World Press Freedom Day Symposium hosted by the College of Science, Technology and Applied Arts of Trinidad and Tobago (COSTAATT) on Monday 4th May, 2015 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel on the theme “Let Journalism Thrive! Towards Better Reporting, Gender Equality, & Media Safety in the Digital Age.”
The eloquent Communications Minister stated that “in a global environment where there are still countries where the pursuit of ‘the story‘ can at times be a fatal endeavour, our rights and freedoms must always be celebrate. And I make the further commitment that wherever there appears to be even a hint of attempts to change that for the worse – we will be at the forefront of defending our nation’s free press.” Further, that “journalism provides a platform for informed discussion that shapes public opinion. Journalists enjoy the freedom to investigate and criticize policies and actions, and as Government, we defend that right.”
He also reminded the audience of when Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar became the first woman in our nation to take leadership of a major political party, the United National Congress, in 2010, she made a very clear and abiding commitment “we will defend media freedom with all our strength and legislative capacity because we know that without a free media our democracy would be deformed. We insist that no Government has the right to take away or infringe in any way the right of the media to operate freely. Our constitution enshrines the right to a free press and the freedom of expression and we must accept no less.”
Other speakers included Senator the Honourable Fazal Karim, Minister of Tertiary Education and Skills Training; Ms. Alison Bethel-McKenzie, Former Executive Director, International Press Institute (IPI); Dr. Arthur Potts, Vice Chairman, COSTAATT Board of Trustees; and Dr. Gillian Paul, President (Ag.), COSTAATT.
Every year, 3 May is a date which celebrates the fundamental principles of press freedom; to evaluate press freedom around the world, to defend the media from attacks on their independence and to pay tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the exercise of their profession. The international day was proclaimed by the UN General Assembly in 1993.