Patti-Anne Ali receives the Award for Media Excellence honouring her dad, the late Ian Ali.  Present the Award is Senator the Honourable, Vasant Bharath, Minister of Trade, Industry, Investment & Communications.


Title Sponsor, Blink Bmobile – Mr. Rakesh Goswami, VP Strategic Alliance, Enterprise & Tobago Operations with Mrs. Carolyn Ali (widow) and daughter of Ian Ali, Ms. Jo Ann Ali-Nandalal as they take in the moment.


Mark Kolasingh, son of the late Dale Kolasingh, receives the award honouring his dad, from Mr. Goswami.  Right is TTPBA President, Daren Lee Sing


Daren Lee Sing congratulates Mark Kolasingh and Anna Kurbanali (formerly Anna Kolasingh) on the posthumous award dedicated to the memory of the late Dale Kolasingh. 

 Speech by: TTPBA President, Daren Lee Sing

Good evening ladies and gentlemen, Senator the Honourable Vasant Bharath – Minister of Trade, Industry, Investment & Communication; specially invited guests, this evening’s awardees, former awardees, guests from the Telecommunications Authority of Trinidad and Tobago (TATT), guests from the Ministry of Communications, TTPBA board, our membership, Title sponsor Blink Bmobile, Co-Sponsor First Citizens, other sponsors Market Facts and Opinion, Media Insite, Caribbean Airlines, Massy Group, COTT, and Stega Engineering, and the Media. 

 “Let Journalism Thrive! Towards Better Reporting, Gender Equality, & Media Safety in the Digital Age”

This year’s UNESCO theme hits at the very essence of issues that compound the media here in Trinidad and Tobago. 

The TTPBA will continue to:

  • protect and preserve the right of the people to know;
  • be responsible and undertake to encourage practices that will strengthen and maintain the broadcast and publishing industry by improving industry standards through education and acknowledgement of organizations and individuals who have contributed significantly to the industry.

Within recent years the core focus of the TTPBA has been on improving the skill set of our practitioners by hosting workshops and training forums in the interest of better standards for our industry, this done in tandem with many strategic partners gathered here tonight. You know who you are and I say a heartfelt thank you.

Additionally, the TTPBA has been proactive with respect to legislation and regulation of our dynamic and changing media environment. With a great working relationship with our regulators at TATT, we have worked on:

  • Digital Terrestrial Transition (DTT)
  • Revised Authorization Framework for the Telecommunications and Broadcasting Sectors of Trinidad and Tobago
  • Spectrum Plan for the Accomodation of Radio and Television Auxilliary Services
  • Draft Telecommunications (Radio Spectrum) Regulations 

The TTPBA and the AAATT have successfully joined forces to execute the last media survey as well as working on political guidelines to keep our industry sane, we cannot have a repeat of the poor standards from the last few elections. The other area that our industry profits via the AAATT/TTPBA alliance is via or partnering to propel a new Media Complaints Council forward, one that empowers the MCC to have jurisdictional control over the creators of advertising materials as well as the mediums of distribution.

Earlier this week I served on a panel at a COSTAATT function. All the speakers alluded to this glass ceiling of gender equality which appears to have been broken in the local media landscape, as many of our CEO’s, editors, managers, and reporters are now women.

Lisa Agard, Maria Cooper, Shida Bolai, Kiran Maharaj, Dawn Thomas, Deesha Rambajhan, Samantha John, Golda Lee Bruce, Omatie Lyder, Sunity Maharaj, Asha Javeed. Natasha Jones, What do these names have in common? They are all media personnel who are WOMEN. 

The Digital Age is here and we continue to see that the digital transition is taking place and does pose many financial questions on what the media is to do with its core competence. Social media is fast becoming the quick form of news transmission. Establishing a formidable position in this fused media environment is another challenge that has become a daily routine as we seek to incorporate the interests of the public we serve.  With social media the truth can be frayed with pranksters and bloggers propagating yellow journalism.      

I look forward to an election time that demonstrates to our polity, who listens to us and in whom we serve, that we can elevate ourselves via higher advertising standards. I know many were appalled by the recent weekly frontpage, many said it was in poor taste. I label it yellow journalism. I state that we are the media and we can do better, we can strive for better, and we are all guilty at sometime for pushing the envelope in the name of ratings or share, but as I told the morning show at boom champions last week, the quest for a better media starts from within. Owners, managers, editors, journalists, reporters, all have a collective responsibilty to raise the bar.

At another forum, the TATT ICT Forum,  we the media were challenged to answer the call for: “Radio and Television Talk Shows – Maintaining Moral, Ethical and Legal Conduct.” I am troubled to think that it is not understood that “with great power comes great responibility,” and that someone watching or listening is someone’s mother, father, brother , sister, son, daughter, nephew, niece, grandmother, grandfather, or friend. We must always remember this.

The simple truth is that those who lower the standards will not be judged by any of us, but instead will be judged by all of us as citizens of Trinidad and Tobago – the public has the final act of recourse, that being saying no and boycotting that which they deem is wrong.

In closing let me reiterate the DTT debucle which all of us in radio and television must face. Dr. Marcia Forbes articulates QUOTE “Fast forward to 2015. Free-to-air TV stations in the Caribbean largely struggle for relevance as cable and Internet TV pull and fragment audiences. Complaints rain when TV stations try to maintain relevance by purchasing popular programmes and scheduling them based on the station’s convenience and driven by profitability motives. In Jamaica the two free-to-air TV stations have been publicly scorched by viewers for their respective purchase of Scandal and Empire.” She further suggests “Free-to-air TV stations are treasure troves of content. Station owners may therefore want to consider repurposing and packaging content for online platforms as well as for sale to cable TV. After all, is it better to die or to morph into something else?” END QUOTE

I thank you.