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Channel 7’s Cherisse Halsall ejected as controversy erupts over coverage of CARICOM summit; Opposition issues condemnation

Posted: Tuesday, March 1, 2022. 5:31 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: There is local controversy over coverage of today’s CARICOM Intersessional Heads of Government meeting amid claims that a reporter for Channel 7 News was “forcibly removed” from the meeting.

We will have the Government response in a separate story but we begin with the allegations made by Channel 7 and amplified by the Opposition United Democratic Party (UDP).

The Opposition claims reporter Cherisse Halsall was “manhandled” and blames Press Office Director Mike Rudon, who the Opposition alleges instructed Special Branch police officers to remove her and her camera man from the grounds of the meeting venue in view of dignitaries and she was injured when her wrists were twisted.

The Opposition further claims that rival media house Channel 5 News had “full access to meetings and CARICOM [and] government officials” and this ‘preferential treatment’ it alleges was approved by former CEO and now CEO of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Amalia Mai, supported by Rudon who is a former employee of Channel 5 as well. Later it catalogued Rudon’s many alleged missteps as Director of the Government Press Office.

“We warn that state preferred media is just a step away from state-controlled media seen only in countries with oppressive authoritative regimes,” the UDP said and noted that the “attack” comes on the first day of Women’s Month, calling for a formal apology.

Leader of the Opposition Moses “Shyne” Barrow, in a separate comment sent to us, called the allegations that “the MFA & director of [the] Press Office are targeting her and other media houses in order to deny equal and free access to the press” “disturbing” and said they “must be condemned.” He says that he has registered his concerns to the Prime Minister and requested he rectify the matter in support of freedom of the press and to set an example for our fellow CARICOM nations.

As previously stated, the response of the Ministry will be treated in a separate story.

 

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