T&T crime programme suspended over controversial broadcast

(Trinidad Express) Ian Alleyne’s Crime Watch programme has been suspended until further notice.

Caribbean Communications Network Ltd (CCN) chief executive officer Shida Bolai yesterday announced that “in light of the recent complaints made against the CCN TV6 programme Crime Watch, in particular video clips which aired on October 25, 2011 at 6 p.m. and 10.30 p.m. and on October 26, 2011 at 6 p.m., a full review into all aspects of the programme has been launched”.

“CCN TV6 values its reputation for credibility, adherence to the highest standards of responsible journalism and respect to all of our loyal viewers. In this regard, the station has agreed to suspend the programme until further notice,” a CCN release stated.

The controversial video clip allegedly depicts the rape of a 13-year-old girl.

Alleyne yesterday confirmed that he had received a letter of “two or three lines” from the company indicating his suspension and hinted that he would make further statements regarding the issue.

“At an appropriate time, I will say it all: how this tape really ended up there and who in TV6 is to blame,” Alleyne said.

He further asserted that the company’s decision could not have been motivated by pressure from the public because the programme’s ratings were very high. The decision to suspend his programme “would cost the company”, Alleyne said, adding that he was “very, very concerned about the advertisers” and had “no animosity towards management”.

“I can’t bad talk TV6. Dawn (Thomas) and Shida Bolai tried their best,” he said.

Thomas is the CEO of One Caribbean Media Ltd (OCM), holding company of CCN.

Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Roger Gaspard last Friday said he had instructed the police conduct “a criminal investigation” into the airing of a video clip on Alleyne’s Crime Watch programme on TV6.

Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) in charge of crime, Harold Phillip, confirmed last Friday that the criminal investigation was ongoing.

On October 31, the Telecommunications Authority of Trinidad and Tobago issued a legal letter to TV6 and forwarded a copy to the DPP, stating that the airing of a video clip on TV6 may have constituted a breach of the station’s own ethical guidelines, a breach of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and a breach of the Sexual Offences Act.

The airing of the video was also criticised by the Media Association, the Broadcasters and Publishers Association, the Coalition against Domestic Violence and the Rape Crisis Society.

On October 31, on his Crime Watch programme, Alleyne admitted that the face of the victim was shown in error but defended his decision to air the video and apologised.

Yesterday, he added: “Remember, I did my part. The suspect was held. Those responsible, the men who took advantage of the 13-year-old, was held because of Crime Watch.”

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