The media houses in Belize are lacking an association but even so, members of various media houses have been coming together of recent to speak out on their rights as reporters in Belize. Recently, there was a joint effort made in boycotting the Belize Police Department and today, there is another joint effort taking place following the incidents of abuse against three members of the media last Wednesday during the Senate Inquiry. Love News spoke with the UDP Chairman, Alberto August who was present at the sitting and observed what was taking place. August says he takes complete blame on the incident as they were there for one sole purpose for which he did not apprise the others of.
“That was an unfortunate situation and as the person who was leading that group I take full responsibility for it because I did not properly brief those persons who appeared out there in support of the movement. When we appear in these kinds of activities the media is our friend because we get there, we want the media to record what is happening so that they can broadcast it to the Belizean people who did not have a chance to see or hear what was happening. It was an unfortunate situation, I take full responsibility for it. I apologize and I wholeheartedly apologize to the media and I am saying that as long as I continue to lead this kind of charge that kind of incident should never happen again because the media is our friend.”
August went on to say that he did reprimand those who were misbehaving in the National Assembly as their objective was solely to demonstrate the presence and participation of Senator Eamon Courtenay in the Senate proceedings.
“Immediately after the incident I spoke with them and I told them that should have never happened. Like I said I continue to reiterate we respect the media and in cases like these we are depending on the media to bring forward our protest and how can we do that if we are asking the media not to photograph us. We welcome the media to record what is happening.”
“But Alberto in all fairness, from the video footage I saw you sat there in the gallery not really trying to calm down the people who were there with you supporting BAC.”
“I don’t know if you saw immediately after that incident I called them outside and lectured them outside, I don’t know if you saw that. That was my immediate action I called them and told them that that kind of thing we don’t engage in because we are here to peaceful demonstrate against Eamon Courtney’s presence.”
While the three members of the media who were assaulted have made police reports for reference, the major media houses in Belize are signing a letter to be sent to the Chairman of the Senate Select Committee to put on record the displeasure of the media.