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TATT investigates ‘false’ broadcast reports

By LARA PICKFORD-GORDON Friday, March 6 2009

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SUPPORT: WOMEN and girls can now have the opportunity to build their awareness and mobilise their leadership skills through a new support group  the C...
SUPPORT: WOMEN and girls can now have the opportunity to build their awareness and mobilise their leadership skills through a new support group the C...

The Telecommunications Auth-ority of TT (TATT) has launched an investigation to determine the extent of the “false and misleading” information carried by the broadcast media on the alleged discovery of children in a container at a port in Trinidad.

It is also considering “the possibility that the reporting may have involved public mischief on the part of the broadcasting stations involved”.

The report of children being found in a container was widely circulated throughout the country on Tuesday, and led to all ports being checked by police and other agencies. The Port Authority of TT and Commissioner of Police issued statements indicating that no evidence to support the report was found.

In a release, TATT expressed concern that the entire country was misled “and the apparently erroneous reporting, given the nature of the issue, contributed to the shutdown of essential services to the public in TT, misuse of the security services, and loss of revenues”.

TATT said its comprehensive investigation will seek to determine “if and to what extent” the reporting of false and misleading information by some broadcasting services “may have been as a result of a failure to take reasonable steps to verify the accuracy of the information prior to transmission”.

The Authority assured the public that it would take steps within the ambit of current legislation to address any improper conduct and prevent recurrence.

TATT said the issue highlighted the urgent need for promulgation of the proposed Broadcast-ing Code to enable the Authority to more effectively regulate the broadcasting sector.

It cited two clauses in Code, 5.1 which states, “News, in whatever form, must be reported with due accuracy, balanced, and presented with due impartiality” and 5.5 which states that broadcasters must ensure they have evidence to support accuracy of news produced.

Consultations on the Code ended January 23, and the Authority has been reviewing and responding to comments received.

TATT said the final version of the Code will be sent shortly to the Minister of Public Administration for his consideration.

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