As an expat, I was trying to avoid making a public comment on the state of emergency in Trinidad. I’m not there, haven’t been there for a while, so I have no real concept of what’s going on a daily basis.
And here comes the ‘but’
One of the things I’ve always been proud of is good or ill you can say your piece and they’re always people who would. You don’t have to like them or what they were saying but they could and often times did.
In 2003 Trinidad was tied for 5th with Denmark in the World Press Freedom index and it was moment of true pride for me. Since then we’ve consistently slid down the ladder and in the 2010 index, we lay sandwiched between Latvia and Poland in 30th.
To compile this index, Reporters Without Borders prepared a questionnaire with 43 criteria that assess the state of press freedom in each country. It includes every kind of violation directly affecting journalists (such as murders, imprisonment, physical attacks and threats) and news media (censorship, confiscation of newspaper issues, searches and harassment). And it includes the degree of impunity enjoyed by those responsible for these press freedom violations.
I thought I would be content to keep my mouth closed and let the state of emergency pass and for the government to realise what an abject failure that particular exercise was until this showed up in my news feed. Really, we’re keeping company with Egypt and China? For all the wrong reasons no less? Drafting legislation to deal with the regulation and monitoring of social media? Have these people been paying attention? What kind of backward, ignorant, clueless thinking is that? Oh wait, it’s the same kind of thinking that brought the state of emergency into play in the first place.