THE TELECOMMUNICATIONS Authority (TATT) said it holds firm on its warning on the programme Maha Sabha Strikes Back.
TATT in a media release Friday said it stood by its warning to Central Broadcasting Services Limited with regard to its breach of Clause D9 of their concession to operate a public broadcasting service.
TATT said the “headline Sat Strikes Back; TATT Backs Down on Maha Sabha Head” in Friday’s Express newspaper was “misleading” and “does not represent the authority’s position.”
The authority said its warning related to disturbing statements made by the host of the programme Maha Sabha Strikes Back broadcast on TV Jaagriti on April 15, 2019, which were found to be divisive and inciteful.
The authority pointed out Clause D9 states: the concessionaire shall not: transmit any programme, information or other material which degrades or portrays in a negative manner or discriminates against or encourages discrimination against any person or group by reason of race, origin, class, religion or sex; and a broadcast programme, information or other material which endangers the security of the Republic of TT, violates any law, is of a defamatory nature, is subversive to peace or public order or is otherwise contrary to the laws of TT.
“This is the first warning to Central Broadcasting Services Limited and as indicated in both the initial letter to the station and subsequently to its attorneys no further action will be taken based on that breach occurring on the programme. This clarification was made so that the broadcaster was aware that no sanction was applied on their ability to broadcast. The authority reiterates its warning in both letters and holds firm that the authority reserves the right to take further action should there be any further breaches of Clause D9 by Central Broadcasting Services Limited.” In the programme in question Maharaj described Tobagonians as “lazy” and “rapists”. He has received widespread condemnation including from Tobago House of Assembly Chief Secretary Kelvin Charles, assembly Minority Leader Watson Duke, the Prime Minister as well as Pundit Satyanand Maharaj. Maharaj has responded that he is standing by his statements and he was only quoting from news articles.