Saturday 18 November, 2017

Media declines A&V tour after attacks on journalists

Guardian photographer, Kristian De Silva

Guardian photographer, Kristian De Silva

An invitation by A&V Oil and Gas to media workers for a tour of the company's premises has been met with scorn and rejection from the media fraternity.

A&V CEO Hanif Baksh extended the invitation after assaults on journalists seeking to take photos and footage of the company's Penal compound last week.

Three separate attacks occurred on media personnel from the Newsday newspaper, Guardian newspaper, and TV6.

A Newsday photographer was reportedly threatened, while a TV6 crew was pelted with glass bottles, sending them diving for cover while standing on the road outside the A&V compound.

Guardian photographer Kristian De Silva was injured after being physically assaulted while also taking photographs of the compound. His camera and glasses were smashed in the incident.

Baksh apologised yesterday while still insisting that the media workers had entered his property without permission.

All media personnel involved in the attacks have denied this.

Baksh extended an invitation for the media to tour his company on Thursday.

However many journalists took to social media to condemn the attacks and decline the invitation.

Some said they were fearful for their safety and would not be comfortable going to the place where their colleagues were viciously attacked.

One company has since publicly declined the invitation.

"Our mission, since inception, has been to be a defender of democracy, upholding the highest standards of journalism in the interest of the public," TV6 Head of News Sharon Hamilton-Cudjoe said in a televised statement.

"We have never been intimidated or cowered in the course of our duty. We have always treated our subjects with decency and respect, and for the most part, have been afforded the same."

Hamilton-Cudjoe said the journalists who were attacked did not break any laws and were not trespassing.

"As such, I say categorically that TV6 will not be attending Mr Baksh's media tour," she said.

"Members of our news crew has expressed that they would not feel safe on the compound. We understand that this story is of national interest. However, the safety of our journalists is our priority. We will, however, agree to attend a media conference, once it is held on neutral premises."

Hamilton-Cudjoe said TV6 condemns any act of violence and intimidation against any journalist.

 

Content Manager's Note: Loop TT will not be sending a representative to the tour of A&V Oil and Gas. We stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in the media fraternity and strongly condemn acts of violence towards journalists, in general, but particularly in their line of duty.