KINGSTON, Jamaica CMC – Milton Samuda, the embattled chairman of the Board of Television Jamaica, has resigned, a few weeks after he was accused of engaging in censorship by restricting questions to be asked of two Olympians.
Earlier this month, Samuda, who was also Deputy Chairman of the RJR Communication Group, had stepped down pending the outcome of investigations into the incident that led to widespread criticism from the Press association of Jamaica, the Trinidad-based Association of Caribbean MediaWorkers (ACM) and the Vienna-based International Press Institute (IPI).
In a statement issued late Friday, the RJR Communication Group said it had completed its investigation into the matter involving one of its reporters “in an interview arranged with Asafa Powell and Sherone Simpson and held at the offices of their attorneys, Samuda and Johnson, in which …Samuda is a partner”.
It said, Samuda “participated in the monitoring of the interview” and that “there was a departure from the arrangements for the interview which led to Mr. Samuda requesting and the reporter handing over to him the tape recording of the interview, whereupon the tape was erased and later an edited recording was supplied to TVJ.
“Once the matter was disclosed to the management it became clear that issues of, apparent authority impacting editorial guidelines and journalistic practice and policy were contravened.”
The RJR Communications Group said that following its investigations, it found that the “pre-agreed conditions for the interview and departing from them have shown editorial and journalistic breaches for which the reporter has apologised, accepted responsibility and has also accepted disciplinary action.
“There were corporate governance issues and policy breaches which the Chairman of TVJ accepts.
“Mr. Samuda has advised that the investigation having been completed and he having absolutely no desire to see the names of RJR and TVJ, to which he is committed, called into question, he has resigned from the Boards of both entities.”
The statement noted that Samuda had served both RJR and TVH for a combined total of 30 years “during which time his conduct was exemplary.
“We thank him for his more than one and a half decades of service and place on record that his decision to resign underscores the credibility and integrity of leadership which are hallmarks of these companies which he served.
“The RJR Group has an enviable track record in leadership and good journalistic practices. We will continue to maintain the high standards which the public has come to expect of us,” the RJR Communication Group said, adding that it would in due course disclose the new appointments to its board of directors.