Government blamed for firing of reporter in Grenada, prompting concerns about freedom of expression

Concerns about the state of press freedom have come to a head in the Caribbean nation of Grenada, as journalists allege continuing government intimidation and reporter Rawle Titus was fired seemingly because of direct political pressure from Prime Minister Tillman Thomas, Caribbean News Now reported on Tuesday, April 3.

Titus, a reporter for the Grenada Advocate and the president of the Media Workers Association of Grenada (MWAG), was fired on March 23 after reporting that the prime minister had chosen candidates for the upcoming general elections without consulting any party leaders, according to Reporters Without Borders, which urged "Prime Minister Thomas to disown the pressure that his office brought to bear on the Grenada Advocate’s management and to reiterate the commitment to freedom of information that he expressed when he took office in 2008.” MWAG also cited at least two other instances of similar government intimidation of radio stations, according to Caribbean News Now.

In a press release issued March 27, the prime minister's office "categorically" denied having anything to do with Titus' firing. The Grenada Advocate that weekend published a front-page apology to the government -- an apology that Titus refused to write.

On Monday, April 2, Titus staged a one-man protest in front of the prime minister's office, urging his fellow journalists not to "cower in fear," "to be vigilant," and "to become more aware your rights and freedoms as journalists and media practitioners," reported the Caribbean Media Corporation.

The Association of Caribbean MediaWorkers also expressed concern about the dismissal of Titus and the newspaper's seemingly automatic acceptance of the government's position, according to another article from the Caribbean Media Corporation published by the Antigua Observer.

See the video below of Titus discussing his firing from the Advocate during an interview on the program Day Break Grenada: