The New Today


Interference in the workings of the free press

The Government’s attempt at damage control following the incident recently when I was assaulted by the Junior Minister of Information, can only be described as ill-advised.

Pushback from the Keith Mitchell Administration came in the form of a statement by the Senior Minister of Information Simon Stiell, in which he announced, quite pompously, that the government had investigated and concluded that nothing had happened.

The statement, which appears to be attempting to create doubt about my allegations of being shoved by the Junior Minister, resulting in me falling to the floor, is the definition of fallacious. It is fallacy piled upon fallacy and padded with an unbelievable helping of self righteousness.

Stiell’s statement, an exercise in faulty reasoning, contradicts their own position that nothing happened, when he seeks to give the impression that the Junior Minister and I were involved in an altercation prior to me requesting an interview from senior minister Dr Clarice Modeste-Curwen.

The truth is that the Junior Minister was audacious enough to instruct the Minister of Tourism, his senior in the Cabinet.

Stiell goes on to offer as proof to support his faulty conclusion, that the matter was not reported by most media houses. The fact is the media houses, reporters and journalists, including me, were threatened with reprisals should they venture to report on the matter.

Further demonstrating his penchant for fallacy, Stiell’s statement seeks to make the public believe that the absence of media reports can only mean that there was no incident.

He speaks at length about the NNP government’s commitment to Press Freedom in a statement which by its contents and its tone, clearly shows that the government has no respect for the Freedom of The Press.
By announcing that he has investigated and concluded in a matter that is outside of his jurisdiction, Minister Stiell has usurped the authority of the police and the Court of Law. He has also breached the rules of due process by making conclusions and publishing them, on a matter that is in the hands of the police.

Even outside of this mountain of fallacious meanderings, Stiell has demonstrated personally to me that the government is determined to control what is reported in the media and press.

In a conversation, following a recent news conference I was approached by him and he proceeded to explain to me that “there are a lot of good things happening (in the government) and this is what I should be reporting on.

This is clearly, interference in the workings of the free press. In that conversation I reminded the Senior Minister for Information that this is what GIS is there for and with that he walked away, realising that I would not be intimidated or coerced into abandoning my duties as a member of the free press of Grenada.

Calistra Farrier