Image courtesy UNESCO.

The Trinidad & Tobago Publishers & Broadcasters Association (TTPBA) is reminding all citizens that they should never take for granted, the fact that there is a free press, which continues to play a vital role in securing and protecting this country’s democracy.

In an official statement to commemorate World Press Freedom Day, the TTPBA notes that in an age of fake news and deliberate misinformation and manipulation of the public discourse, a free press is more important than ever.

This year, the theme for World Press Freedom Day is “Information as a Public Good”.

According to the TTPBA, “An environment where the press is trusted and information is freely available serves the people…”

The following is the full text of the TTPBA statement…

Statement by The Trinidad & Tobago Publishers & Broadcasters Association (TTPBA) in Commemoration of World Press Freedom Day

The world celebrates World Press Freedom Day with the focus on “Information as a Public Good”.

We are fortunate in our twin island republic to live in a democratic society but a corner stone of that is a free press. We should never take for granted the critical role a free press plays in our democracy. In an age when journalism is under increasing attack from all directions, journalists must hold true to their responsibilities and demand that they be allowed to fulfil their mandate.

An informed public is a fundamental tenet of journalism and is inextricably linked to the nation’s ability to hold those that influence our democracy accountable. This is never more important than in an age when not only fake news and misinformation are rampant but the ability to reach audiences with ease is unprecedented. It is in this environment that the journalists of today must manoeuvre through the quagmire to present facts without fear or favour. They must hold integrity as a key watch word. At a time when it is easier, and now common place, to attack the media when the truth is reported rather than to hold people accountable, journalists remain strong and determined, for they are a pillar of democracy.

All citizens should be proud of enjoying a free press and should fight for its survival, as the press fights for theirs.

Faced with inadequate legislation currently, it is incumbent on those entrusted with legislating our great nation that they do so with press freedom in mind. Freedom of information and protection of journalists should be foremost in their minds as they go about serving the people. An environment where the press is trusted, and information is freely available, serves the people.

The TTPBA has cooperated, and always will cooperate, with those so entrusted, as we continue to monitor legislation that affects press freedoms directly and indirectly, and by extension, the people’s right to know.