President of the Association of Caribbean Media Workers (ACM), Anika Kentish has told caribbean journalists that if elections are to be free and fair in the region, they must understand that the coverage of election is not like a regular news beat.
Kentish made the observation said so during a presentation held to observe World Press Freedom Day on May 3, under the theme, Media for Democracy, Journalism and Elections In times of Disinformation,
The ACM president described the media as the corner stone of any democratic society.
“We bring governance issues to the forefront; we expose flaws in the justice system. We are the whistle blowers when corruption blooms and we are the window into the electoral process,” she said but cautioned that in order to retain their vital role in the democratic process, the media must ensure that information is relevant, timely and most importantly, accurate.
She explained the changing requirements for election coverage by the media in the Caribbean.
“It is tracking a complex system with several moving parts and many opportunities for opportunists to pervert the process in hopes of swaying results in their favour. Disinformation poses a very real threat to the electoral process; full verification of fact is paramount to a free and fair electoral system,” Kentish noted. “There was a global trend of foreign interference in the electoral process and while this kind of meddling may seem like a distant reality, we must recognise that in the region, we are not immune from several intrusions by geopolitical or commercial interests.”
Kentish said that the challenge now is that despite having more access to information than ever before, disinformation is more rampant than ever before.
“Let’s recommit, as journalists, to call out disinformation when we see it and embrace the basic tennets of good journalism by giving verified facts without the taint of bias,” she urged regional journalists.