The members of the Media Association of TT (MATT) are not investigators. Instead, their job is to defend freedom of the press to support media workers who had complaints, or felt intimidated or attacked and highlight the situation.
So said acting president of the association Joel Julien in response to Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith’s statement condemning MATT’s release on Thursday highlighting a “raid” at TV Jaagriti that day.
Griffith denied reports that no warrant was produced on the police’s arrival, and of “heavy-handed and unprofessional conduct” by the police to obtain a copy of a programme as evidence in a sedition investigation by the police.
Griffith’s release stated, “In contrast to what is stated by Mr Julien on behalf of the association, the police officers did, in fact, read and serve the search warrant upon their arrival at the radio station. It is, therefore, inaccurate and misleading for MATT, through its vice president Mr Joel Julien, to state that the police conducted a raid without a search warrant at Radio Jaagriti. Did Mr Julien seek clarification of the facts from his colleagues before falsely accusing police officers of unprofessional conduct and intimidation?”
In a release yesterday, MATT said it stood by its initial release despite attempts to single out or intimidate members of its executive as it was based on reports from two people who were there at the time.
“On the basis of those reports and operating within our purview, MATT raised the concerns expressed by its members. MATT once again condemns any form of intimidation against media workers, whether it be veiled or otherwise. MATT respects the work of the TT Police Service and Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith and will never actively chose to obstruct them from performing their duties. We, however, will always defend the constitutional rights of freedom of the press in this country in the face of all adversity.”
Speaking to Sunday Newsday, Julien said, “The Media Association’s job is not to investigate who’s version of details is correct.
The job of the Police Service is to investigate and our job is to highlight the reports given to us by our members... and to ensure members of the media don’t feel intimidated to do their work, that they are protected.”