Fifty-six years since it aired its first broadcast, and 13 years after it was shut down to make way for the Caribbean New Media Group (CNMG), state-owned media house TT Television (TTT) will once again be a cultural beacon for this country.
The new TTT television station must be the “gold standard” of quality in broadcasting and lead the charge in providing factual, accurate information and combating “fake news,” Prime Dr Keith Rowley has indicated.
He did so last Thursday as he launched TTT Limited—formerly CNMG—at Maraval Road, Port-of-Spain.
“In closing CNMG, we’re opening the door to a brighter future,” Rowley added.
Rowley said TTT needed to adhere to high standards because of the seriousness of the role the media plays in citizens’ lives.
In a time when one has to question everything seen and misinformation, he said TTT has the role of building a reputation as a bastion for correct information. If a question arises on something that’s “trending” and if it’s seen or heard on TTT, “… you’ll know it’s been checked.”
On TTT’s other role as a production house, Rowley said it’s important for the station to not just broadcast news or provide a platform for creativity but facilitate the creation of local content. He said with the negativity seen in the news, it was important to produce programmes that elevate, entertain and drive people to a higher quality of life.
“Rather than be news carrier, it’s more important for this generation of TTT to be a programme producer of content for T&T and externally,” he said.
He projected jobs and projects which could bring revenue from such productions, which would, in turn, offer a platform for talented people.
Rowley said the media is an integral part of T&T’s quality of life. He said he’d had two friends in the media, one of whom he taught in school. He said he’d once disagreed on state-owned media but over time changed that view. He cited the US’ PBS and UK’s BBC as proof of a role for the state in media.
While there may be arguments that state-funded media is just an outlet for government propaganda for political purpose, Rowley said entities like the BBC and PBS have proved their purpose.
“There may be some truth (about state media being a mouthpiece for the government) because the government is the largest generator of news, so broadcasting it from the source without dilution must have some value,” he said, adding how he was among those who led the charge for the creation of the Parliament channel.
Communication Minister Stuart Young said TTT will lead the charge of 100 per cent accurate news to combat the proliferation of “fake news”, which he said was growing and taking over, especially on social media, and would be a go-to platform for information.
“TTT’s mandate is to be a tool to rebuild positives in society and give those willing to put positivity on a platform as we rebuild that concept in the media,” said Communications Minster Stuart Young, who oversaw the transition. TTT will bring back positive energy to counter the negative showcased in a media landscape that focuses on bacchanal, he said.
TTT’s first major broadcast was the 56th annual Independence Day parade on Friday, hearkening back to its very first airing on August 31, 1962 at midnight, as the Union Jack was lowered and the TT flag raised signalling the beginning of self-governance.