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Gordon: It’s disrespect of the highest order

Tuesday, May 4 2010

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WORLD PRESS FREEDOM DAY:Ken Gordon, media executive, speaking at yesterday's two-day seminar at the Kapok Hotel held to mark World Press Freedom Day. ...
WORLD PRESS FREEDOM DAY:Ken Gordon, media executive, speaking at yesterday's two-day seminar at the Kapok Hotel held to mark World Press Freedom Day. ...

“How can you have fair elections to elect a democratic government when the incumbent controls the media which must not say a true or false word without government’s approval?” That was the question raised yesterday by Ken Gordon as he gave the feature address at the launch of a two day workshop to commemorate World Press Freedom Day.

Alluding to the resignation of former judge, Herbert Volney from the Judiciary to contest the election on a UNC ticket, Gordon, speaking at the Kapok Hotel in St Clair, said “Respect is eroding from the top at an alarming speed. A high court judge resigns from the judiciary and within 24 hours publically announces his candidacy for a constituency for general election with blatant disregard to the seriousness of the ethical implications.

“It is disrespect of the highest order when people can stand on a political platform and speak poorly about people who can be their father or mother. Political platform or not, this type of behaviour should not be tolerated. The tragedy of all this, are the corrupt consequences of the amount of indiscipline which have been allowed to develop in our society,” Gordon explained.

The former newspaper executive said many have claimed the media can be “provocative and sometimes sensational. They can make nuisances of themselves perticularly when they unearth information which some may prefer to remain hidden.”

Gordon defended the media in this regard by stating it’s the media’s responsibility in a country such as ours to uncover the facts, and help to develop wide informed public opinion.

“On an ongoing basis, press freedom has been able to expose corruption, double standards and abuses of power where ever they occur.”

Gordon continued by saying, “ The head of state of Trinidad and Tobago has been forced to apologise for indiscretions, the chairman of the Integrity Commission has been forced to resign, likewise the Chairman of Udecott was fired. The media has also exposed the airport scandal which led to the jailed sentences of a former Prime Minster and a Minister of Finance.

The Media have exposed the CL Financial and the CLICO collapse with all its gruesome details.

It has made the current Prime Minister publically accountable for many dubious decisions which has no doubt influenced his call for general elections two and a half years early.

“The former media executive said the media has done and is continuing to do its job well, perticularly the daily press,” he added.

Speaking on the government’s MFO survey which was conducted earlier this year, “If the Prime Minister’s survey was taken during the period of the Udecott fiasco the only surprise would have been if there was any headline at all which would have been favorable to his government. So I congratulate the press and the media generally.”

Also addressing the implementation of a broadcast code to govern what is aired Gordon said, “I have long opposed the broadcast code of conduct. It is impractical. I believe licences should be cancelled or suspended if warnings of improper behaviour are continued to be ignored by media personals.”

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