One Caribbean Media (OCM) chairman, attorney Faarees Hosein, has called on Police Commissioner Gary Griffith to desist from engaging in behaviour that causes “discomfort, distress or anxiety” to media professionals.
In a letter dated November 27, 2019 to Griffith, Hosein stated that over the last year he has noted with “grave concern” statements that Griffith put into the public domain which have been highly critical and at times quite defamatory of OCM’s journalists, editors and news brands.
“Additionally, it has been reported to me that at times you have adopted a very uncooperative stance with respect to legitimate questions posed to you by some of our journalists. Instead you have chosen to respond with communications on various media platforms including social media that have now resulted in members of our news team and management feeling anxious and fearful for their personal safety,” he stated.
“As the Commissioner of Police, you must be aware that you hold a very important and powerful position and that your communication with the general public and media personnel cannot be simply dismissed or ignored and is more than likely to be treated with in a serious and literal manner,” Hosein stated.
He further noted that both the police and the media have an important role to play in this country.
“Unquestionably, you and your team are faced with a herculean task of reversing an ‘out of control’ crime situation in the country. However, the media also have a very important role to play in our still young democracy and our media group has no intention of being deterred in pursuing stories deemed to be in the public interest and/or holding public officials to account.
“As such, I call upon you to immediately desist from engaging in behaviours, communications or actions that may cause discomfort, distress or anxiety to our media professionals and management in the execution of their journalistic and other responsibilities,” stated Hosein.
Express journalists have been the subject of several tongue-lashings by Griffith, on air and via WhatsApp messages following stories and editorials critical of him. The latest came following this week’s Sunday Express lead story headlined “Gary Choked Me”.
Asked about the letter yesterday evening, Griffith said he had not yet received it but commented: “I will ask Faarees Hosein to look in the mirror and as a CCN director stop having the Express put stress and discomfort on law abiding citizens with mischievous, false and misleading articles based on them trying to adhere to a personal agenda.”
He called on Hosein to answer whether the Express has a “deliberate agenda” against him and the police service.
“Mr Hosein needs to understand the difference between a daily newspaper and a tacky weekly tabloid you can buy in Walmart,” he said.
Later, after receiving the text of the letter, he said: “If this letter by Mr Hosein is really from him, his version of democracy is that the CCN media has a right to print what they feel about any citizen, but no one, including myself, has any right to question or challenge them. That is not democracy. That is hypocrisy.”