Above: Grenada (CJ Photo)
By the Caribbean Journal staff
Grenada’s government said it maintained its “commitment” to press freedom on Tuesday, following allegations to the contrary by the Media Workers Association of Grenada.
Prime Minister Tillman Thomas released the statement in response to a letter put out earlier in the day by the MWAG, which pointed to what it called “growing intolerance of the current government to opinions and views it sees as critical to it in the media.”
“We have maintained an unwavering obligation to media freedom and an atmosphere in which people can freely express their views, whether it favours government or not,” said Senator Glen Noel, Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Ministry.
The MWAG letter referred to a pair of incidents, one that allegedly involved a directive by the Grenada Broadcasting Network to order the cancellation of a longtime contributor’s programme, and a second involving an alleged physical intervention to stop an interview with the Prime Minister.
Thomas’ office directly responded to the allegation that he had been involved in the removal of reporter Rawle Titus earlier this year from his position at a local newspaper, a charge he “categorically denied.”
The Prime Minister’s office at the time said it had pointed out concerns over alleged inaccuracies in a March report.
“The administration notes with much concern, the increasing trend of appropriating blame to the state whenever independent agencies make decisions that may adversely affect particular practitioners,” the government said in Tuesday’s statement. “Government is also alarmed that this trend is a deliberate attempt to tarnish the country’s image regarding its adherence to freedom of the media in all its forms.”
The statement said Thomas had “consistently assured the media, his countrymen and the international community of his government’s adherence to a free and unencumbered media that recognizes the basic tenets of professionalism, responsible and ethical behaviour.”