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Media boycotts police

Posted: Friday, March 17, 2017. 3:12 p.m. CST.

By BBN Staff:The media is currently at odds with the Police Press Department as the model on how information is made public has effectively blackballed the media from access to basic details of major criminal incidents.

The media’s frustration has bubbled over into a sustained boycott by many media outlets who have agreed to not cover and report on all police related, community policing and other positive initiatives of the Police.

Earlier this week, Breaking Belize News joined Channel 7, Plus TV and other media houses in this boycott.

The new Police media policy was introduced in January at a meeting between the Minister with responsibility for Police and the department’s Senior Command at Old Belize. Minister Elodio Aragon and Commissioner of Police Allen Whylie assured the media that the new model would be effective. At that meeting, the media raised concerns with the model and the personnel assigned to the office.

Still, the media reluctantly accepted the model in good faith with the proposal to draft a police-media relation policy. At the time, a six-week trial period was suggested to review the efficiency of the new model, which included an official Police Department Whatsapp chat group. That follow-up meeting was postponed and the model quickly proved to be a failure.

Queries from the media have been either completely ignored or answered hours after deadlines have passed. Still, the department insisted on coverage for community policing events while blatantly blocking the media from details to major crimes that have taken place in the last few weeks.

The media has prepared a letter addressed to the Minister requesting a meeting with Ministry and the Police top brass. The boycott continues pending a response.

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