Suspension recalls media oppression of the ’70s

- Catholic Standard

The Catholic Standard in its editorial yesterday criticised the suspension of CNS Channel Six for four months, saying that it harkens back to the 1970s when it and other media were oppressed.

As condemnation of the suspension decision by President Bharrat Jagdeo continues to mount, the Catholic Standard referred to a recent speech by Pope Benedict XVI and questioned the correctness of the decision to “gag the main TV channel which offers a voice to opposition parties” on the virtual eve of an election.

“We are taken back to 1974 when the government of the day acquired an almost complete monopoly over the media,” said the newspaper, which played a pivotal role in exposing rigged elections and PNC excesses during the 1970s and 1980s.
The editorial noted that during that time, the situation provoked a pastoral letter of protest from Bishop Benedict Singh which applied principles taught by the popes and the Second Vatican Council to the situation.

“We are taken back to the late seventies when the Catholic Standard, then a lone voice for justice, was denied a free gift of newsprint from abroad on the grounds that it would offend the laws restricting imports,” it said.

The editorial, however, noted that it was not challenging the rightness or wrongness of the suspension. “The issue is the timing of the action.

Voices critical of the governing party have been muted just before an election,” it said, while questioning whether the President and his advisors believed that the move would promote success for their party.

It added, “Pope Benedict reminds them that seeking what is right, not success is the fundamental task of the politician.”

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