The Media Association of Trinidad and Tobago (MATT) yesterday said it was “disturbed” by reports of attack on Guardian Media photographer Kristian De Silva while in the lawful execution of his duty.
“What makes the incident even more disgusting is that a senior police officer is alleged to have been a part of this assault. MATT takes this opportunity to remind citizens that freedom of the press is a right guaranteed in the Constitution of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago,” the release stated.
MATT added it was unacceptable for any member of the media to be attacked while doing his or her job. MATT hopes that police thoroughly investigate the matter as well as the allegations that a senior police officer may have been involved.
Oropouche East MP Dr Roodal Moonilal yesterday “roundly” condemned the “vicious attack” on De Silva and called on the acting Commissioner of Police to launch an investigation. He said the incident was a “frontal attack on freedom of the press”.
He noted that the attack on reveals the dark side of the alleged use of the State police to oppress citizens and the free press.
“The attack on the media practitioner likens Trinidad and Tobago to rogue dictatorial countries under authoritarian rule, in which journalists are routinely assaulted, and even murdered, while at work,” Moonilal stated.
He also called on Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley to denounce the attack on the free press.
The opposition MP urged journalists as well as MATT to stand in defence of a colleague who has been physically assaulted while pursuing a news story.
“Media practitioners must assert that they will not be intimidated in the course of their professional duties, no matter how politically connected their assailants may be,” Moonilal noted.