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NTUCB President Comments on Media Boycott

We also spoke to the National Trade Union Congress of Belize on the PSU’s decision to boycott the free press. President Luke Martinez told Love News that the unions are not engaging in any type of political warfare and any fight with the media houses is unnecessary. Love News informed Martinez that what is aired as paid political ads does not interfere with the journalistic integrity of this media house. Martinez agreed that Love News has been undoubtedly fair and unbiased in its reporting on the unions and GOB dispute.
Luke Martinez, President, NTUCB

Luke Martinez, President, NTUCB:  “We’re appealing to the media houses to cease from airing these ads. I could tell you that the ads are not professional. It’s not taking us anywhere in fact it is just going to blow the situation out of proportion. We have said from the on set that this is not a political, we are not engaged in any type of political warfare. We are engaged in nation building. “

Reporter: Okay but is it that you support the boycott of the media houses because some people are criticizing the unions saying it’s akin to censorship. You’re boycotting the fifth estate.

Luke Martinez, President, NTUCB: “We have a responsibility to protect our organization just as your organization has a responsibility to protect its sales and so we are going to ensure that our organizations are being respected.”

But in terms of the boycott. Senator Elena Smith said today it might be simple as not giving an interview but you’re boycotting the fifth estate and not only that other persons on social media are commenting that the unions are basically shooting themselves in the foot.

Luke Martinez, President, NTUCB: “We could have this discussion from many angles and so we are asking for the media to be responsible. The National Trade Union Congress is asking for the media to be responsible. We will continue to encourage our members to be responsible and professional in what we are doing. I am not going to move away from the fact that we are engaged in nation building. We’re asking that the media houses be responsible. We don’t need to get into any unnecessary fights, we’re not going to get anywhere with it.”

Reporter: A fight that I would say that the BNTU started but Mr.Martinez would you agree that there’s absolutely no correlation between the ads played during commercial and the content we put out as the news, as journalism.

Luke Martinez, President, NTUCB: “The ads are offending the unions. They are not doing any good for the unions and we condemn those ads.”

Reporter: Agreed but would you agree that it doesn’t play any role in terms of our news reporting , our content of our news. 

Luke Martinez, President, NTUCB: “No you all have been very fair in your reporting. No one is going to dispute that, nobody is going to dispute that and I am going to tell you that if any unions would be saying such I don’t think any unions would go to that length to say such a thing about what you all have been reporting in terms of the good governance fight and the protection of wages. You all have been very professional in that manner. Love FM has done great in Belize and they continue to be great and let’s not allow the sale of ads to bitter what the relationship between the unions let’s not do that.”

 Martinez says that the paid political ads are painting the unions as the enemy. The NTUCB is insisting that the attacks on the unions cease.

Reporter: Is it that you’re asking the media to be responsible because some might say this “Unu noh like the ads, that’s it basically.” Yes the ad attacks the union but is it surprising that the People’s United Party would go down this route ?

Luke Martinez, President, NTUCB: “It’s not just an ad. It’s not just an ad. No organization would try to put out an ad for an ad sake. Obviously it is being used to paint the labor movement in a negative manner and it is unfortunate.”

Reporter: Does it make a difference that the ads that are being aired on most of the media houses is being paid by the People’s United Party the political party and not government ?

Luke Martinez, President, NTUCB: “I’m not going to answer that question because those who are sponsoring the ad know who they are and all we’re saying is that if the Government of Belize is engaging in campaign against the union we are appealing for them to discontinue such act.”

Reporter: So I’m taking that as if though the NTUC B is supports the boycott.

Luke Martinez, President, NTUCB: “You’re insisting on that.”

Reporter: I’m trying to get a direct – 

Luke Martinez, President, NTUCB: “You’re not going to get it out of me.”

Reporter: Because I’m trying to get a position from you as the President of the National Trade Union Congress. Do you support –

Luke Martinez, President, NTUCB: “Our position is for the media houses to be responsible. That is our position.”

Reporter: However one would argue that the unions are being irresponsible in attacking the media, the free press.

Luke Martinez, President, NTUCB: “Like I have said I am not going to yield to what you want me to say.”

 NTUCB calls for the Government of Belize and Joint Unions to return to the good faith discussions and mandatory negotiations.