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IAPA uneasy about cyberbullying of journalists in Trinidad

Published:Wednesday | June 15, 2016 | 12:00 AM

The Inter-American Press Association (IAPA) on Monday expressed concern about actions of cyberbullying against journalists in Trinidad and Tobago, who have been the object of numerous attacks on their professional and personal integrity in reprisal for their news coverage.

In a detailed report on cyberbullying in the nation, the vice-president for the English-speaking Caribbean of the IAPA's Committee on Freedom of the Press and Information, Shida Bolai, CEO of the Caribbean Communications Network, detailed the most recent cases of intimidation and defamation of journalists through social media.

Asha Javeed, an investigative reporter with the Trinidad Express newspaper, has been harassed and insulted on Facebook after reporting on the distribution of subsidised state housing.

Also the victim of cyberbullying was the newspaper's editor-in-chief, Omatie Lyder.

Bolai declared: "The cyberbullying threat comes from what so far appears to be an unstoppable form of vicious personal and institutional molestation, designed to be, and capable of, the intimidation of free expression."

Claudio Paolillo, chairman of the IAPA's Committee on Freedom of the Press and Information, said: "When social media are used as a tool to punish, denigrate and defame, alleging invented situations such as in this case, we are referring to cyber-attack as another form of attack on the press."