Suriname vice-president stops TV show over China-Taiwan controversy

Suriname vice-president stops TV show over China-Taiwan controversy

Published on Monday, May 14, 2007

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By Ivan Cairo
Caribbean Net News Suriname Correspondent

PARAMARIBO, Suriname: Managers at Suriname’s state-owned Suriname Television Foundation (STVS) TV-station pulled the plug on a live broadcast of a popular news show Thursday evening after vice-president Ram Sardjoe intervened. The controversial China-Taiwan issue was at the centre of the program when the vice-president advised to leave interviews with individuals commenting on the controversy out of the programme.

Suriname Vice-President Ram Sardjoe

According to the producers of ‘Suriname Today,’ this was a request they could never honour since this would distort the format of the programme. The intervention of the government official according to the producers was a breach of the right of expression.

In an invited comment the vice-president late Thursday evening argued that his intervention was aimed at protecting the interest of the state.

“I regret that the producers are claiming that they were being censored, but as the government we have to look after the national interest of the country,” said Sardjoe.

He further argued that the China-Taiwan issue is an internal Chinese affair and interference from Suriname could jeopardize the ties with Beijing.

The vice president further stated that he didn’t ban the broadcast, but only made a “strong request” to treat the Taiwan-issue “very careful” and that, even though broadcasting comments of individuals was strongly advised against, it was no form of censorship or restriction of the right of expression.

Producer and editor-in-chief of Suriname Today, Nita Ramcharan, told an audience during a panel discussion Friday night, that since she couldn’t honour the vice president’s request, managers at the TV stations decided to cancel the broadcast.

She also revealed that a journalist who did an interview for the program with Chinese ambassador Su Ge received intimidating phone calls from staff members of the Chinese embassy urging the reporter not to use the material in any programme in which pro-Taiwan activist would appear.

It is also reported that staff members went to the TV stations to add pressure to their demands. The reporter felt intimidated and refused to handover the material to the producers of the news show.

“This is a blatant impertinence,” Ramcharan said at the panel discussion to commemorate World Press Freedom Day.

The Association of Caribbean Media Workers (ACM) has strongly condemned the government’s actions in censoring the programme, while the Surinamese Association of Journalists (SVJ) is still considering a response.

“We stand by the journalistic judgment and independence of the show’s producers and agree with our affiliate, the Surinamese Association of Journalists (SVJ), that the intervention of the country’s Vice-President, Mr Ram Sardjoe, had been a flagrant violation of the right of free expression,” said the ACM in a press release.

ACM President, Dale Enoch, said the ACM proposes to bring the full weight of the regional organisation and its international partners to bear on the situation.

“We will not hesitate for one minute to mobilise all available resources to address this situation,” Enoch said. He called on “the relevant authorities to unconditionally reinstate the programme”.

It is the second time a government led by president Ronald Venetiaan intervened in a TV show on one of the state-owned TV-stations.



Caribbean Net News: Suriname vice-president stops TV show over China-Taiwan controversy

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One Response to Suriname vice-president stops TV show over China-Taiwan controversy

  1. R. says:

    Caribbean Net News: CARICOM
    Suriname government approves free movement bill

    Published on Friday, July 13, 2007
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    By Ivan Cairo Caribbean Net News Suriname Correspondent Email: PARAMARIBO, Suriname; The Council of Ministers in Suriname has recently sanctioned a bill to facilitate free movement of CARICOM nationals, but approval from parliament is still necessary before this legislation takes effect. The legislation was submitted by the Ministry of Justice and Police.
    Suriname signed the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas on July 15, 2001, but until now the national legislation has not been in line with the articles 45 and 46, which govern the free movement of CARICOM nationals. A press release from the Ministry of Justice states that the proposed bill is aiming at securing the rights and guarantees of CARICOM nationals stipulated in the revised treaty. The new legislation also includes the CARICOM Skills National Certificate, which facilitates working and living in member states. However, in anticipation of the new legislation the authorities were already enforcing agreements within the regional body regarding the coming into being of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy.
    On entering Suriname to live and work, CARICOM nationals are required to show adequate travel documents, medical insurance and a good conduct certificate. Initially all CARICOM nationals are allowed a maximum stay of six months on arrival in the country. “Individuals who want to stay longer, in accordance with the Foreigners Act, should submit an application,” said the ministry in its press release. The bill is currently being sent to the National Assembly, Suriname’s parliament for approval. Recently the government started a campaign to inform groups that are eligible for a CARICOM Skilled National Certificate of the benefits and procedures. According to officials, a limited number of Surinamese nationals have so far submitted applications for a certificate.

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