Freedom of the Press

Trinidad and Tobago

Trinidad and Tobago

Freedom of the Press 2003

2003 Scores

Press Status

Free

Press Freedom Score
(0 = best, 100 = worst)

25

Political Environment
(0 = best, 40 = worst)

11

Economic Environment
(0 = best, 30 = worst)

10

The constitution provides for freedom of speech and of the press, and the government generally respects this right in practice. In 2002, the turmoil that occurred after disputed elections took place in December 2001 came to an end with the ascendancy of the United People's Movement. The new prime minister, Patrick Manning, has observed a hands-off policy regarding the media in contrast to his predecessor, Baseo Panday, who vehemently criticized the media during his tenure from 1995 to 2001. In September, Manning signed the Declaration of Chapultepec, bringing the island nation into a new era of press freedom. Former prime minister Panday had refused to sign the agreement because of what he called the media's "dissemination of lies, half-truths, and innuendos." There is a mix of state-owned and private media outlets. In the past, journalists have complained about the treatment of the media and limited access to government sources. There have also been complaints that the government as well as the business community has tried to control the press by withdrawing advertising funds. Many media outlets in the country are part of business conglomerates, which complicates the situation.