MATT wants greater protection for media workers

Newsday Journalist Laurel Williams. - Photo by Lincoln Holder
Newsday Journalist Laurel Williams. - Photo by Lincoln Holder

THE Media Association of Trinidad and Tobago (MATT) has called for greater protection for media workers worldwide as they go about their work.

In a statement on May 2, ahead of the celebration of World Press Freedom Day (May 3), MATT said it pledged to remain vigilant on behalf of journalists, understanding that a strong democracy depends on free and fair media.

"Internationally, MATT mourns alongside our colleagues the unprecedented number of journalists killed in 2023."

MATT said the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has reported that “72 of the 99 journalists killed worldwide in 2023 were Palestinians reporting on Israel’s war on Gaza, making those 12 months the deadliest for the media in almost a decade.”

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), MATT continued, has noted that at least 109 journalists and media workers have been killed, a mortality rate of over ten per cent, dramatically higher than any other occupational group.

"The IFJ noted that 'since October 7, 2023, foreign journalists have been barred from the Gaza Strip.'"

While that has been happening, resident journalists continue to risk their lives to report on the events happening there.

In this context, the MATT supports the move by the IFJ to nominate its affiliate, the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate (PJS), for the UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize for 2024 as a means of honouring all Gaza’s journalists.

Created in 1997, this prize is awarded annually to a person, organisation or institution that has made a notable contribution to defending or promoting press freedom, especially if risks have been involved. The laureate of this year’s prize will receive US$25,000 and a medal at a ceremony scheduled for World Press Freedom Day on May 3.

MATT said according to the 2023 World Press Freedom Index – which evaluates the environment for journalism in 180 countries and territories and is published on World Press Freedom Day – the situation is “dire” in 31 countries, “difficult” in 42, “problematic” in 55, and “good” or “satisfactory” in 52 countries.

"This means the environment for journalism is 'bad' in seven out of ten countries and satisfactory in only three out of ten."

MATT said it stands in solidarity with its fellow journalists globally and "redoubles its commitment to holding those in power to account, remaining a voice for the voiceless and standing strong as a pillar of democracy."


"MATT wants greater protection for media workers"

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