Share NewsRegional Intimidation continues in Grenada, say media workers by: – April 3, 2012 Share 10 Views no discussions Tweet Share Sharing is caring! Rawle TitusST GEORGE’S, Grenada — Grenadian media workers, some of whom were threatened with lawsuits under the ousted New National Party (NNP) administration of former prime minister Keith Mitchell, allege that intimidation continues under the current government that was elected to office in 2008.The issue of press freedom in Grenada came to the fore with the recent firing of Rawle Titus from the Grenada Advocate.The Media Workers Association of Grenada (MWAG) claimed that staff in the office of Prime Minister Tillman Thomas “pressured” the Barbadian owners of the Advocate into firing Titus over a news item published on the front page of the March 9 edition of the weekly.Richard Simon, press secretary to Prime Minister Thomas, contacted Titus and his Barbadian bosses, seeking an apology and a retraction of the item that said the Grenadian leader was holding constituency meetings without inviting or consulting some of his current MPs and cabinet ministers.The paper said the prime minister, who has stated publicly that he could win re-election without many of his MPs, also has a preferred slate of candidates with whom he’d rather contest the upcoming polls.In the aftermath of the complaints from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), Titus was dismissed by the Advocate.MWAG labeled the PMO’s action as interference with freedom of the press.“The Media Workers Association of Grenada is calling on the Tillman Thomas administration to match its words with appropriate action in regards to media freedom in the country,” said MWAG, which is led by Titus as president.“We have growing concerns about increasing incidents that will suggest that those guarantees are coming under attack. This latest incident follows a series of other developments we have been monitoring in the past.”The Grenada government has denied infringing press freedom, but the Advocate issue and Titus’ firing have drawn regional and international attention.The Association of Caribbean Media Workers said it was treating the issue “as a matter of considerable concern,” saying it believes “there is strong evidence to support the veracity of the story as published in the Grenada Advocate of March 9, 2012.”Colin James, president of the Antigua & Barbuda Media Congress, said if the allegations against the Grenada government are true, he would be disappointed.“Politicians should leave the media workers to perform their duties,” he said, adding also that “media managers and owners should not bow to political pressure.”Reporters Without Borders (RSF) also waded in on the controversy, saying it understood MWAG’s “alarm” over the matter.“The evidence brought to our notice is solid enough to substantiate the claim that there was direct political interference in the functioning of a reputable independent newspaper,” RSF said in a statement. “We urge Prime Minister Thomas to disown the pressure that his office brought to bear on the Grenada Advocate’s management and to reiterate the commitment to freedom of information that he expressed when he took office in 2008.” RSF said that among countries of the Organization of East Caribbean States (OECS), to which Grenada belongs, it occasionally receives “cases of direct political pressure on journalists or their news media.” But it said there has not been a case of the “gravity” of the latest matter involving Titus, “since the Grenada Today weekly had to be liquidated in 2009 as a result of a libel suit by former Prime Minister Keith Mitchell.”However, journalist Linda Straker said a 2011 RSF media index survey “indicated areas of concern in Grenada, among which was the fear among media people to engage in doing certain stories as it relates to the government and the NDC party.” “Many media workers, particularly reporters, have received calls questioning the angle taken for a story,” said Straker, who described herself as the RSF correspondent for the OECS and Barbados. Her comments were contained in written note posted on the internet site, grenadabroadcast.com.Straker claimed that “whereas Dr Keith Mitchell openly cursed off the press and took people to court, the situation now is even more frightening. It is one in which media people are questioned by agents of the government, leaving no paper trail; and media owners are questioned about the programmes that are aired.” Caribbean News Now
The large media contingent, the packed house and the undoubtedly big TV audience indicated something important went down in Sin City on Friday night.For the Lakers and their frustrated fans, it was a glimpse into a bright future they pray begins immediately. One that will be anchored by the dynamic abilities of Russell and Clarkson, a pair of guards that offer youth, length, athletic ability, play-making skills, long-range shooting and slashing drives to the basket. “We (can have) a scary backcourt,” Russell said.And while all of those components were on display Friday night — wrapped around the rust, sloppiness and steep learning curve typically associated with summer league games — what they offer most is hope.And we all know the Lakers need plenty of that.With Kobe Bryant likely entering the final year of his illustrious career, and the Lakers now full-throttle in an uncertain rebuilding phase, they need to hit big on Clarkson and Russell.They provided an entertaining glimpse of what might be possible Friday night, and there were a few stretches and sequences when it wasn’t hard at all to imagine them meshing into the kind of dynamic backcourt NBA success requires these days.“It felt good,” Clarkson said. “We’ve been beating each other up in practice, so it was nice to play against someone else.”Clarkson, the Lakers’ surprise second-year guard, looked mid-season ready with 23 points and drew ohhs and ahhs with a resounding dunk and a handful of drives to the hoop.Russell, their 19-year-old, first-round pick from Ohio State, finished with eight points, six assists and three steals.But he also a few hiccups, like the three turnovers and the backcourt violation he was cited for late in the game when he mistook the college rule for the NBA version.“I didn’t know you couldn’t do that,” he said, sheepishly.The self critique didn’t end there.“I had a lot of mental mistakes. Not paying attention to my guy. Sleeping a little bit defensively,” Russell said. “Just little things you can do in college but you can’t get away with in the pros.”All of which is expected for a rookie playing his first professional game.But there were also comforting signs, especially as it relates to Clarkson and Russell as backcourt mates.They seemed comfortable playing with each other, with Russell at point guard finding Clarkson in transition for easy layups or out of half-court sets for open jumpers.“I think there were stretches where they looked very, very comfortable playing together and there was a lot of synergy,” said Lakers summer league coach Mark Madsen. And while their skill-sets are different, they offer enough similarities they can be interchangeable. And that gives the Lakers tremendous versatility.Both can handle the ball — either in transition or out of the half court — and with Clarkson’s outside shot improving, both can be spot-up shooters or put pressure on a defense standing on the perimeter as threats to shoot, drive to the basket or create open looks for each other and their teammates.“It’s going to be fun, “ Russell said, smiling.In a big-picture sense, it might the game-changer the Lakers desperately need.It’s difficult enough finding one guy who can do all those things, let alone two.And with Russell checking in at 6-foot-5 and Clarkson 6-4, they provide unique length to see over smaller guards and lanky coverage defensively.If Russell is everything he’s advertised, and if Clarkson continues to grow from his surprising rookie season, the Lakers have the kind of young, multi-faceted guard tandem that doesn’t just help win games, it also attracts the interest of free agents eager to play alongside teammates who make the game easier for them.Barely a week into his first summer league, Russell is already flashing some important skills necessary for a Lakers turnaround.“It might be a little too early to tell, but I’ve seen some gifts that he has that are special,” Lakers coach Byron Scott said. “His vision on the court is special. Every practice he does something that your eyes just kind of get a little bit wider.” All the more intriguing when you put him alongside Clarkson.It was only one summer league game.But you get the sense the Lakers and their young guards are selling more than just hope. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error LAS VEGAS >> As initial steps go, this was a doozy.Gathered on one stage just off the Las Vegas strip you had the next Lakers superstar making his professional debut, a matchup between the first two overall picks in the NBA draft, the long-awaited return of Julius Randle and the first glimpse of the talented backcourt the Lakers hope will lead them to their next dominant era.And it all played out in front of a packed Thomas & Mack Center filled primarily with Lakers fans thirsty for something positive to cling to after spending the last few years in the very unfamiliar surroundings of NBA purgatory.The intrigue hung as thick as cigarette smoke in one of the nearby casinos. But for one of the main characters on this opening night, separating the hype of what seemed more like a playoff game than just a summer league game involving mostly rookies and second-year players was as easy as one of those effortless flick-of-the-wrist bounce passes he’s mastered. “I was just trying to break a sweat,” D’Angelo Russell summed up after playing his first game as a member of the Lakers.If only it was that simple.But the throng of reporters surrounding him suggested this was much more important than just a rookie dipping his feet in professional waters for the first time.Same goes for the media wrapup that proceeded it, this one involving Russell’s new running partner, Jordan Clarkson.