By BBN Staff: The United Women’s Group (UWG), (women’s arm of the People’s United Party) issued a statement today demanding respect for the media. According to the release, the UWG says that the media plays a critical role in Belize’s democracy and therefore it is crucial that its journalists are not censured, stifled, or bullied in any way.
The UWG denounced the actions of the police against KREM’s editor Marisol Amaya and said that the police actions were “unwarranted” and “excessive”.
“This was uncalled for and demonstrates an abuse of power by these authorities. No political party or organization should condone the behaviour of our armed authorities to treat journalists in this manner. We are outraged that the government and the police forces would tolerate this treatment of the media that was on full display yesterday,” said Tanya Santos, President of the group.
Senator Valerie Woods, a member of the UWG, stated that, “the freedom of the media and its access to information is critical to a healthy democracy and that the force used against Ms. Amaya was despicable and the approach used by the Police Department against the media yesterday was not necessary.”
“The protest was by all accounts a peaceful one and the authorities response and mistreatment of Belizeans is unacceptable,” Woods further added in the statement.
The group reiterated their position that Belizeans have every right under the fundamental rights and freedoms in our Constitution to protest corruption, abuse of power, and any other issues of public importance.
The release emphasized that the media must be allowed to cover those protests without interference, intimidation, acts of repression, harm or injury to themselves, and without being bullied by the police forces of this country.
The UWG called on the Special Envoy for Women and Children, the National Women’s Commission, and all other agencies involved in women empowerment to condemn this act of violence against Marisol Amaya and to respect the role of the media in our democracy.