Trinidad and Tobago | Freedom House

Freedom of the Press

Trinidad and Tobago

Trinidad and Tobago

Freedom of the Press 2006

2006 Scores

Press Status

Free

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

26

Political Environment
(0 = best, 40 = worst)

12

Economic Environment
(0 = best, 30 = worst)

8

Freedom of the press is enshrined in the constitution, and the media are generally free to express independent views, even if they are highly critical of the government. A major issue of contention was the government's release of a draft national broadcasting code, designed to deter talk radio stations from aggravating simmering ethnic tensions. In addition, the process of licensing and assigning frequencies was a source of friction on several occasions. In February, the CCN TV6 television station publicly complained about the lack of transparency in the Telecommunications Authority's decision to turn down its applications for additional frequencies. In September, the Telecommunications Authority blocked the launch of a new cable television station, CNC3, citing a breach of the licensing process. National newspapers, the Trinidad and Tobago Publishers and Broadcasters Association, and the Association of Caribbean Media Workers all criticized the draft code, saying it restricted freedom of speech. There were also protests against a series of alleged assaults on journalists by police officers, although the incidents appeared to stem from pressures on the police as they faced an increase in crime rather than a predetermined policy against journalists.

There are 3 daily newspapers and 3 political weeklies. The 3 television stations and over 30 radio stations are all privately owned. The state-owned National Broadcasting Network closed down in mid-January after 48 years on the air. A new state-owned company, the Caribbean News Media Network, which will operate a television station and radio frequencies, was expected to launch during 2005, but it was not until October that the government announced to the Parliament that it had at last allocated money for the purchase of broadcasting equipment. There are no government restrictions on the internet for the 12 percent of the population that was able to gain access in 2005.