Press liberties diminishing
THE EDITOR, Sir:
Jamaica is in danger of losing its much-vaunted press freedom. Not that the boundaries of that freedom are often tested, given the self-censorship of our media owners, but the firing of Lloyd D'Aguilar by NewsTalk is worrying indeed.
D'Aguilar is a radical, and his two programmes, 'Evening Edition' and 'Looking Back, Looking Forward', provide the Jamaican public with a rare chance to think outside the mainstream box. D'Aguilar is very professional, but pulls no punches when interviewing his guests.
This time around, he dared to support Ragashanti, not necessarily as regards Raga's particular style but in his dispute with the Broadcasting Commission which has acted unprofessionally, even illegally, in its cancellation of Raga's radio programme. In response, NewsTalk immediately fired D'Aguilar, citing his lack of balance and judgement.
If journalists are no longer free to express their (dissenting) views, we no longer have press freedom, and without that any chance of democracy, now or in the future, is a non-starter.
I call upon NewsTalk itself to uphold the right to dissent and the right to unfettered debate, the absence of which would completely negate the mission of any university, including the UWI, which owns and controls NewsTalk.
I am, etc.,
Campaign for Social &
Editor's Note: The management of NewsTalk says the termination was not exclusively related to the Ragashanti interview but was also linked to previous conduct.