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Tuesday 18 September 2018
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Despite no ban on broadcast media: President to be reported by media watchdog

President Paula-Mae Weekes.

Advocacy group Reporters Without Borders is expected to receive a report from its Trinidadian representative on President Paula-Mae Weekes' decision to invite only printed media and not broadcast media to a ceremony where she received the Order of the Republic of TT on Tuesday.

Newsday spoke to Stephen Cummings a local representative of the group yesterday who said the incident has drawn some international attention and said he intended to file a report to the Paris-based organisation. He said while the incident may have been only protocol, there was some concern over the invitation of media to public events.

"This is not an attack on the office of the President in any way. This incident has never happened before and it's a departure from the norm. It's something we take very seriously if there is so much of an inkling of a lack of transparency."

Cummings said while he understood the President's explanation for the decision as one of convenience, he said there was still need for full media attention with public officials

"For such instances where the President is receiving the highest national award, there is expected to be full media attention in some way."

Cummings said while there was no evidence of media suppression, there will be no official response from the group, however it was important for such incidents to be reported and kept on record.

On Wednesday the office of the President issued a release, refuting claims that broadcast media were banned from the event and defended the decision saying the ceremony was brief and would not have been practical to invite broadcast media.

The release added that while there was no ban on media, she and her Communications Advisor will see fit where and which type of media should be invited.

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