Regional media urged to re-examine its role

Create: 05/14/2017 - 23:15

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad (CMC) — The Caribbean observed World Press Freedom (WPF) Day amidst calls for the regional media industry to re-examine its place in the present environment and to invest more heavily in the skills to take it through to the next phases of media development.

In a message to mark the occasion, the Trinidad-based Association of Caribbean Media Workers (ACM), said that WPF Day also provided an opportunity “for strong, well-equipped newsrooms and public affairs units staffed by trained and dedicated professionals under conditions befitting their essential roles.

“It is also a time for media professionals to rededicate themselves to the task of shedding light

on areas of darkness and speaking truth to both the powerless and the powerful, fearlessly and

impartially,” the ACM said.

It added: “In many respects, achieving these objectives requires the existence of an environment

in which there is much stronger and more pervasive commitment to human rights and freedoms,

with an emphasis on freedom of expression

and, through this, the protection of communicators in all their diverse manifestations including

what we today describe as 'new media'.”

But the ACM warned that achieving this would require the shaping of societies in which rights

are held to be indispensable features of growth and development.

“Societies in which the role of a free press is recognised, promoted and protected. Societies

that recognise the need for more, not less, news, views, information and contending

analyses,” the ACM said in the statement.

“We are, however, mindful of the challenges posed by disinformation and propaganda

presented as fact and the emergence of new platforms, recognisable mainly by their

operational opacity, designed to mislead audiences. In many

ways they hinder free expression by misdirecting the free flow of information and interfering

with the public's right to know the truth.”

The ACM said that it reflects on the March 3 Joint Declaration by the UN, OSCE, OAS and ACHPR

Special Rapporteurs on 'Fake News', Disinformation and Propaganda. “We believe that all stakeholders

— including intermediaries, media outlets, civil

society and academia — should be supported in developing participatory and transparent initiatives

for creating a better understanding of the impact

of disinformation and propaganda on democracy, freedom of expression, journalism and civic space,

as well as appropriate responses to these phenomena.

“Such a declaration is supportive of the strategy of the ACM to deploy the weapon

of knowledge in the pursuit of higher standards of media practice and media

literacy in the Caribbean region.”

The umbrella regional media body said that the global observance of World Press

Freedom Day 2017 brought special meaning to Caribbean media professionals

with its focus on advancing peaceful, just and inclusive societies through the

application of critical minds during what we recognise to be critical times.

It said that the framing of this challenge by UNESCO “resonates favourably in

our region as we pursue the achievement of the related attributes of good

governance and sustainable development.

“As media professionals, we recognise there is an implicit impact of good

journalism that is both developmental in nature and supportive of the social

infrastructure to advance the goal of good governance.

“On World Press Freedom Day 2017, we believe there is much to celebrate but

much more work to be done in the promotion of press freedom, enhancement of

professional skills in the Caribbean media and the networking of regional

journalists in pursuit of peaceful, just and inclusive societies,” The ACM added.




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