“A JOURNALIST of convenience.”
This was how former government minister Devant Maharaj was described by a High Court judge as the court shot down his claim for judicial review against Communications Minister Donna Cox.
Maharaj took the minister and the Office of the Attorney General to court recently after the minister failed to have him included amongst media personnel who took part in the Ministry of Health’s daily Covid-19 press conferences.
Justice Kevin Ramcharan commented that in Maharaj’s case, there was no evidence that suggested he was a journalist at the time he made the requests to be part of the conferences, and therefore, his claim against the minister had to fail.
Maharaj had claimed that he previously wrote and had columns published in the daily newspapers as well as hosted a talk show on Radio Jaagriti.
But the judge said simply because someone was a journalist in the past, did not mean they would carry the title for the rest of their lives.
“Whether he was a journalist previously is not relevant to the determination as to whether he is a journalist now. As the claimant noted, when speaking about politicians, it is possible for people to move from one field to another.
“Because a person is a journalist today, does not permanently label them a journalist for life, just as being a politician today does not permanently label them a politician for life. They may retain aspects of their journalistic instincts, but they are no longer journalists.
“I take judicial notice of the fact that several former journalists have been called to the Bar, and no longer practice as journalists. One such journalist has indeed been elevated to the Bench. In no way can they still be said to be journalists,” said the judge.