Monday 30 March, 2020

MATT calls on gov’t to repeal 99-year-old Sedition Act

The Media Association of Trinidad and Tobago (MATT) is urging the government to review the Sedition Act with a review to repealing it.

It is also calling on the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS) to account for what it says can be interpreted as selective application of the law’s provision.

In a statement on Saturday, MATT said it sees the Act as potentially criminalising journalists, media houses, public interest activists, trade unionists, artists, bloggers and assorted social media commentators.

It said it considers the recent re-mobilisation of selected provisions of the 99-year-old Sedition Act incompatible with citizen’s constitutional right to freedom of expression.

“We view current activation of certain provisions of the Sedition Act as, disturbingly, another effort by the State to constrain fundamental rights of free speech and press freedom.

Whatever the outcome of the charge against trade unionist and THA Minority Leader Watson Duke and the charge(s) being contemplated against Radio and TV Jaagriti Managing Director Sat Maharaj, the fact that the Sedition Act has been invoked already serves to intimidate into silence those wishing to express strong opinions on the social, economic and political circumstances of the society,” MATT stated.

The media body added that the limits of free speech in Trinidad and Tobago should not be left to archaic law.

“MATT urges the Government to review the Sedition Act with a view to repealing it and calls on the TTPS to account for what can be interpreted as selective application of the law’s provisions. Press freedom and freedom of expression are constitutional rights guaranteed to all people of Trinidad and Tobago,” it added.

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