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International press group condemns Samuda over tape seizure
2013-08-28 08:58:00 | (0 Comments)
The International Press Institute has joined in condemning the actions of Television Jamaica (TVJ) board chairman, Milton Samuda, over the controversial tape seizures following an interview with athletes Asafa Powell and Sherone Simpson.
Milton Samuda - File
After the interviews last month, Samuda, who is also the attorney for the athletes who have been tested postive for banned substances, requested the tapes of two reporters in order to remove responses by his clients to certain questions he said were not pre-approved.
Three days ago, the Press Association of Jamaica passed a resolution for the removal of Samuda as chairman of TVJ saying he has compromised the entity, and today in a letter to Lester Spaulding, the Radio Jamaica chairman, the International Press Institute also decried Samuda's actions.
SEE LETTER BELOW
29 August 2013
J.A. Lester Spaulding
Chairman, Board of Directors
RJR Communications Group
32 Lyndhurst Road
Jamaica, West Indies
I write to express my profound concern regarding allegations of an egregious attack on press freedom perpetrated by Jamaica Television Ltd. (JTV) board chairman, Mr. Milton Samuda.
Mr. Samuda not only interfered last month with the questioning of two of the country's star athletes accused of using banned performance-enhancing drugs, but he took into his possession the video recorders of two journalists in order to remove questions they had asked during the interview.
While I understand that Mr. Samuda had requested that the journalists' restrict their questioning, presumably to questions he and others deemed "appropriate", it should be made clear that the very idea of deciding which questions journalists can and cannot ask is at its very essence censorship.
The International Press Institute is surprised and saddened by this blatant act of intimidation. We believe that such actions are inappropriate for a director at Jamaica's second largest media company. By all accounts, Mr. Samuda professes to be a supporter of press freedom, but his actions would suggest otherwise, and it leads us to wonder what example he is setting for the RJR Communications Group.
As stewards of press freedom, the International Press Institute and its partner the Press Association of Jamaica must hold our own media leaders to the same standards as we do government officials who would move to stifle the media and silence the voices of democracy. Sitting on the board of a major media company in a thriving democracy like Jamaica comes with responsibility, and that responsibility should extend to a respect for press freedom and freedom of expression.
With kind regards,
Allison Bethel McKenzi
International Press Institute
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Source: The Gleaner/Power 106 News
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