Sat | Sep 23, 2017

Grenadian journalists upset too ... Cameron takes no questions during visit there

Published:Friday | October 2, 2015 | 10:59 AM
Cameron ... spent one day on an official visit to Grenada.

The Media Workers' Association of Grenada has issued a statement condemning the restrictions imposed on the local media in the coverage of the visit of British Prime Minister’s David Cameron to their country.

The Association was critical of what it said was the limited photo opportunities afforded to a small cross section of the media during Cameron’s one day visit.

It said the restriction stands in the way of journalists properly carrying out their functions to inform the Grenadian public about activities in which the government is involved.

"While the MWAG (Media Workers' Association of Grenada) understands that certain protocols must be followed in accommodating the visit of such a high profile world leader as Mr. Cameron, we are firmly of the view that those protocols should not run contrary to the expected operations of a free media in a democracy such as ours," said a spokesperson.

"We cannot be satisfied with official releases, photo-ops and hand-outs – a process that undermines our hard-fought gains in reporting the news through independent lenses," the spokesperson continued.

The Association has asked for a commitment from the government of Grenada to ensure that such harsh "anti-media restrictions" are not repeated.

Additionally, the Association is seeking an ongoing dialogue with the government about their respective responsibilities in facilitating such a high profile event.

There was also condemnation in Jamaica because there was no scheduled opportunity for Cameron to take questions during his visit here this week.

The Press Association of Jamaica complained and eventually got the British High Commission to arrange an interview with Cameron and a small group of journalists.

The British High Commissioner to Jamaica, David Fitton,  has since said it was not Britain's idea to restrict media interviews after Cameron and Jamaica's Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller presented statements following bilateral talks.

READ: Not our idea ... British High Commissioner responds to media exclusion

He said, however, Britain agreed with the Jamaican side that it was the only way to quickly get through the presentation of the bilateral statements.

READ: OPM Rebuts ... Issues 'facts' of media interview restriction 

However, the Office of the Prime Minister is maintaining that it was Britain's request not to have media interviews.