Snapshots from the battle for press freedom
Police seize Andre Bagoo’s computers, phones, flash drives
Nine police officers raided the Newsday offices and journalist Andre Bagoo’s home on Wednesday – seizing at least four computers, two mobile phones and several external storage drives. The police say they are looking for evidence of Bagoo’s sources for his December 20, 2011 story about the row between Integrity chairman Ken Gordon and deputy chairman Gladys Gafoor.
Of course, now that the police have EVERYTHING on Bagoo’s computers they will have a look at EVERYTHING, won’t they? Emails, love letters, shopping lists, contacts list, financial records, photos, sources for every story Bagoo has ever written – little things like that.
The latest attack in the Trinidad police campaign to muzzle a free press comes two months after a similar raid on TV6 last December.
The lesson is that if the Trinidad news media won’t self regulate (as the Guardian did causing journalist Afra Raymond to resign in disgust) then the Trinidad & Tobago police will teach the Trini press to know their place.
We’ve had our own problems here in Barbados with the police strong-arming journalists, seizing their cameras and arresting journalists for photographing accident scenes and corrupt police officers. As a society we must be vigilant and aggressive about preserving the independence and freedom of the press. History has too many examples of what happens when citizens drop their guard.
Photo courtesy of Newsday: Journalist Andre Bagoo, centre in white shirt, surrounded by officers of the Anti-Corruption Investigations Bureau (ACIB) as they search his computer in an attempt to get him to reveal the source of information in a report he wrote on the Integrity Commission.
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Trinidad Express: Police storm ‘Newsday’ offices in PoS
Trinidad Express: Cops want interviews with CCN directors
Trinidad Express: Newspaper stands by journalist not to reveal sources
Guardian: Tribunal to probe Gafoor
Newsday Statement, February 10, 2012
NEWSDAY condemns in the strongest possible language, yesterday’s raid by officers of the Anti-Corruption Investigations Bureau (ACIB) on our Newsroom at 23A Chacon Street, Port- of-Spain and at the private residence in Belmont of this newspaper’s senior investigative parliamentary and political reporter, Andre Bagoo.
The police officers led by Senior Superintendent Solomon Koon Koon, executed a warrant and searched Mr Bagoo’s desk in our newsroom, went through his office computer, all documents on his desk, including parliamentary papers and other information used in the course of his duties.
After two hours they left our Chacon Street newsroom, taking with them two flash drives, one Newsday cellphone issued to Mr Bagoo, his personal cellphone and Newsday’s computer hard drive on which Mr Bagoo has stored confidential information relating to his duties. Continue reading