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Hon. Christopher defends Media’s Right to Freedom of Expression!

Hon. J. Alvin Christopher has come to the defense of the media at last evening July 26, 2012 during the wrapping up of the House of Assembly sitting. Christopher was responding to threats to the media made by Minister for Education and Culture Hon. Myron Walwyn to take prohibition action against the media . Photo: VINO/File
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI – In a show of solidarity with the media fraternity, 2nd District Representative, Honourable J. Alvin Christopher yesterday, July 26, 2012, defended the media’s right to freedom of expression in a statement in the House of Assembly (HOA).

Speaking in relation to an issue recently raised by Minister for Education and Culture Hon. Myron V. Walwyn, Christopher urged that “you have to be very careful” in dealing with the issue. Walwyn, who earlier in the same session of the HOA on July 24, 2012, attacked the online media in a most unprovoked and undignified manner, suggested the probability of the institution of sanctions against the online media.

Though it remains unclear why he chose to specifically target the online media, he did not target a specific news agency but asserted “I would not like us to reach the stage of having to take prohibition actions Madame Speaker, but if we continue on the path we are on, we may well have to begin to consider this.”

Walwyn earlier proclaimed that, “It seems as though some news outlets are comfortable with reporting half-truths, taking things out of context and putting it into their own context and thus distorting the truth Madame Speaker. What ought to be news to disseminate facts and to educate our population has become sensational entertainment, tabloids if you may.”

Hon. Christopher expressed that, “Once you profess of yourself to be a public servant, you open yourself to criticism, some due, some undue. But that’s the hard part of being a servant in offering yourself to represent people.”

Without citing any examples or naming any offending agency, Walwyn noted that looking at the “media today, one realises that something has gone wrong and we seem to have lost our way”. This, the media fraternity sees as simply another attack on media rights and fundamental freedom of the Press.

He went on to add that, “They often wonder why they cannot get comments Madame Speaker, and that may be a sign that the public lacks confidence in some reporting and they need to look within. If they want cooperation then they must show Madame Speaker that they are acting responsibly.”

Offering a mea culpa of sorts, Christopher attempted to pacify the situation by stating “The media will not always be friendly with you, but you have to learn to accept, understand and move forward. So, I just want to say to my good friend, be careful, be very careful as you talk about sanctioning the Press and the right to speak freely in any democracy.”

He declared that there were, “times I understand his [Walwyn’s] passion and what he felt, but it’s a matter that, in a democratic society, freedom of speech, you have to be very careful. You have to be real careful on when you begin to talk about controlling and sanctioning...”

Minister Walwyn had warned the media houses that his, “Ministry of Education and Culture with its assigned responsibilities for media monitoring, will be taking a proactive approach to encourage our media to be more responsible in their reporting by developing a code of ethics for professional media operators within the Virgin Islands”.

Previous attacks

In the past, there had been many other examples where this news site was attacked by the NDP but tapes and other information in dispute were played and revealed nothing but facts and high ethical reporting.

John E. Leonard, the General Manger of Advance Marketing and Professional Services, the parent company of this news site said, “Our policy and producers does not allow us to report information that is not factual so therefore the Minister’s statement is not of any concern to us”.

We will maintain our high professional and well cemented standards and after two years not one person in the VI can point to one single story that did not bear out the facts, not one and I articulated this without fear of contradiction,” he told this reporter from Overseas on a business trip.

Many in the community are beginning to see an erosion of freedom of the press and freedom of expression. Recently, the NDP Government barred a citizen Bevis Sylvester from speaking at a graduation exercise with no reason given. A private radio station suspended a long-standing radio programme off the air and according to the host Alred Frett he was told “that management did not like what he was saying”.

The Virgin Islands Constitution Order of 2007 protects freedom of the press and freedom of expression.

20 Responses to “Hon. Christopher defends Media’s Right to Freedom of Expression!”

  • DADDY FRIDAY (27/07/2012, 09:36) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    the bottom line is Myron needs to go...
  • mad man (27/07/2012, 10:26) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    tell he Alvin for Myron just need to hush with he evil and explain why he fire he step's just a matter of time before it comes full circle.
  • ooooo (27/07/2012, 11:19) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    myron again? wha happen to this lil boy johnny-come-lately?
    • Janet Williams (27/07/2012, 11:43) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      he playing bad man but the last one who was playing bad man...the rest is history
  • island man (27/07/2012, 11:34) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    I keep saying he think this ia antuga he will learn!
  • @@@@@ (27/07/2012, 12:13) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Alvin speaking good ...Myron will fall
    • Speaking Now? (27/07/2012, 13:41) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      Alvin is speaking? This is amazing. Where was he last week when the people of JVD was looking and calling him and he was no where to be found and did not speak a word. He can sit down and be quiet. His voice no longer counts. Poor Representation.
      • Strupes (27/07/2012, 19:34) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
        where did you look?
      • @@@@@@ (29/07/2012, 13:06) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
        you all need to stop hating and praise Alvin for doing a good job over his 16 years in the hoa..and that is a fact!!!!!
  • ccc (27/07/2012, 14:52) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Myron can NEVER win another election!!
  • vex he vex (27/07/2012, 14:55) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    If Myron feels like the media slandered his name, then why he has not settle it in court???
  • Virgin Son (27/07/2012, 21:05) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    licks must share and Myron the ting aint start yet yall
  • facts man (27/07/2012, 21:22) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    The real story behind this is that he got grudge for one news site and getting in trouble with the voters just to get at that one news site. Myron according to the school children will stop at nothing including blogging and pulling the name of the news site down. But as there is a god, he will fail!! Bam hit the right spot.
  • New Yorker (28/07/2012, 08:23) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Yeaaa J. Alvin!! Thas wa I talking bout. Walwyn better be careful before he start dishing out things that will come back to haunt him.
  • faith of our fathers (28/07/2012, 09:26) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Tell Mr. Myron to go look out for his step mother now out of work from here looking fame.
  • whom the bell toll (29/07/2012, 23:06) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    I agree with Alvin but I am no big fan of his, as he only won the election because Claude was a fraud. Premier the people are calling on you to bell that wild dangerous cat Myron.
  • IPI (30/07/2012, 06:51) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Media issues around the Caribbean are in a state of flux, but there are hopeful signs for positive change too: IPI: Archaic defamation laws pose threat to freedom of the press:
  • BREAKING NEWS (30/07/2012, 14:14) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Blah Blah Blah Blah !!!! You all go suck an egg!!

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