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Press Freedom Workshops in the Caribbean

19-05-2005 (Paris)
A first event in a series of workshops on ethical practices, journalism training and management of press freedom in the Caribbean was recently held in St George’s, Grenada, in collaboration with the Eastern Caribbean Press Council. The event, that marked World Press Freedom Day, was supported by UNESCO’s International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC).
The workshop was followed by a public discussion and debate event focusing on the media’s direct input in promoting good governance, journalistic ethics, self-regulation and the code of practice.

Rickey Singh, a well known Caribbean journalist, speaking about “What is Press Freedom” said the Caribbean continues to be distinguished by press freedom. “In this region journalists are not murdered or otherwise killed in defense of press freedom.” He added: “Those of us, who appreciate that there is no such thing as unrestricted freedom, nevertheless prefer media where freedom is not impaired by means of ownership. We would also be aware of the pressures that often come from government ministers as well as corporate interests, advertisers in particular, to frustrate news and analyses coverage by newspapers, or news and other programmes by radio and television.”

Kirk Meighoo, a social, economic, and political analyst as well as an author and university lecturer explained the facts that make governance good. “Perhaps one of the most important aspects of good governance is legitimacy. Building and maintaining trust and confidence between those who govern and those who are governed achieve legitimacy. Formal democracy is no guarantee of legitimacy. It takes more than winning an election to win legitimacy.” He also said that the media must understand its context, and not simply import ideas derived from elsewhere. The media must also understand its important role in the society, and its crucial place in developing citizen self-government.

Harold Hoyte, editor in chief and president of the Nation newspaper, pointed out that press freedom is not absolute. “It is subject to the rights of others and is subject to certain laws, for example defamation and sedition.” The audience heard that the right to know is critical. It is a social right belonging to all people and the right to tell is institutionalized in newspapers.

Lady Simmons, chairperson of the Eastern Caribbean Press Council, made a case for self-regulation; the former high court judge spook about the merits of self-regulation and stated that self-imposed rules are likely to carry more weight than legally imposed ones.
Related themes/countries

      · Grenada
      · News Archives: 2005
      · Freedom of Expression: News Archives 2005
      · Press Freedom: News Archives 2005
      · Latin America/Caribbean: News Archive 2005
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