August 28, 2017
TTT is not just a name change
I wish to respond to a letter written by Indera Sagewan and published in the Guardian on Monday, August 28, 2017 under the headline: ‘Another debacle: CNMG to TTT’.
The letter makes a number of inaccurate assertions that need to be corrected. Contrary to the statement made, TTT as envisioned by the Government is not simply a cosmetic name change. As I stated during the media conference on Friday, August 25th the closure of CNMG goes beyond re-branding and restructuring.
For branding purposes, there will be a reversion to the name TTT but that is where the similarities end. As the Caribbean New Media Group (CNMG) is being wound up, a new board will be appointed. The board will be given a new mandate to create a company with a bias towards the production and procurement of local content. Please be reminded that CNMG was established to be “a new broadcasting company on a commercially viable basis.” Put simply, the mandate of the company, as was the mandate of the old TTT, was to operate like and compete against, private media houses with profit as the bottom line.
The TTT to be created will not be solely profit driven and will be established as a public service broadcaster. There is also no denying this will be at a cost to the Government. However, it is a public good for which people expect to pay a price, as borne out during the 2015 consultations on GISL and CNMG.
As a public service broadcaster, TTT would be mandated to have universal appeal, portray the diversity of cultures that represent Trinidad and Tobago, promote national identity, provide a platform for local content and provide studio and editing services. Unlike CNMG, the soon to be created TTT will also be required to provide public and government information and news.
In order to ensure this plan is not a drain on the treasury, I have repeatedly stated that the subvention for the new entity will not be increased but that the company would be funded by government, donors and commercial revenues.
All of this was stated in the media briefing last Friday where I took every question that was asked. It was also widely reported in the media.
I trust this clarifies many of the misconceptions surrounding the Government’s decision not just to revert to the name TTT but to create a new media house using a model unique to Trinidad and Tobago for the creation of content reflective of our values and identity.
Honourable Maxie Cuffie
Minister of Public Administration and Communications
Member of Parliament for La Horquetta/Talparo