World Report - Trinidad and Tobago
|Publisher||Reporters Without Borders|
|Publication Date||October 2013|
|Cite as||Reporters Without Borders, World Report - Trinidad and Tobago, October 2013, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/526a2b50c.html [accessed 17 December 2017]|
|Disclaimer||This is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.|
The 1997 constitution guarantees media freedom in Trinidad and Tobago and the country enjoys relative freedom of information despite continuing tension between journalists and the government.
A step towards decriminalization was taken in March 2013 when a proposal to strike certain articles from the Libel and Defamation Act was submitted to parliament. Although use of this law and the Seditious or Undesirable Publications Act continues to be rare, journalists and media often censor themselves because of the threat of legal sanctions and a wide range of political and commercial pressure.
This pressure is largely responsible for Trinidad and Tobago's ranking in the Reporters Without Borders press freedom index (43rd out of 179). The authorities have continued to try to identify journalists' sources and to obtain their phone records illegally. Despite government promises to put a stop to such practices, another case involving Anika Gumbs-Sandiford of the Trinidad Guardian daily came to light in 2012.
Tension between the media and government has been fuelled by communication minister Jamal Mohammed's proposal in October 2012 that all privately-owned media should be required to carry government messages free of charge. The Trinidad and Tobago Publishers and Broadcasters Association condemned this move the following month, accusing the minister of acting in a "dictatorial" manner.
Updated in October 2013