Published: Sunday, November 3, 2013 | by: Radhica Sookraj

President of the T&T Broadcasters and Publishers Association Daren Lee Sing says there is no evidence to suggest that the PNM is trying to control media freedom by restricting controversial "split vote" ads. He was speaking in response to comments by Food Production Minister Devant Maharaj that media freedom was under threat. Maharaj accused Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley of undermining an individual's right to freedom of expression by threatening legal action over satirical ads placed in all the daily newspapers. However, Lee Sing admitted some of the ads were cause for concern."The TTPBA has been working alongside the Advertising Agencies Association of Trinidad and Tobago (AAATT) to discuss the principles and standards of the media advertising." "Wherever there is an ad in question, it is brought to our mutual knowledge and we agree to mutually remedy this situation. This political season has seen some ads in question and as such, we teamed up and we are
working assiduously to ensure that it does not discredit the public at large." Lee Sing explained, "No ad must in any way bring disrepute to any individual or entity or collective agency." Asked to name the controversial ads, Lee Sing said, "I am not certain which are these ads but once it is blacklined, we look at it and seek to remedy it accordingly. We will call on our members and ask them to effect change accordingly. It is voluntary and both agencies work in conjunction with each other to remedy the problem." President of the Media Association of T&T Curtis Williams reserved comment on the controversial issue. He said MATT executives were still "considering the matter" and will issue a comment after consultation. "I like consensus and we don't have that as yet, so we will reserve comment," Williams said. Newly elected president of the Association of Caribbean Media Workers Clive Bacchus could not be reached for comment as calls to his cellular phone went unanswered.
Last week, Rowley's attorneys Alexander, Jeremie and Company demanded that media houses should stop publishing and broadcasting ads which purported to be a thank you letter from the PNM leader to ILP candidate Jack Warner on recent local government elections. Another ad later appeared addressed to "Keith" and signed by "Your brother in arms Jack." The ads prompted dismay from both the ILP and the PNM. AAATT later issued a statement condemning the ads, saying it did not identify who placed the ads.