World Press Freedom Statement from Media Institute of the Caribbean

There is an urgent need for Access to Information and Freedom of Information legislation and improvements to what currently exists. Most countries in our Caribbean region lack this necessary framework that will guarantee information as a public good.  During the pandemic period, there has been a marked increase in the number of refusals for information from journalists.

Observance of World Press Freedom Day 2021 focuses heavily on the value of “Information as a Public Good.” For the Caribbean, this strikes an important chord within the context of public information as a key component of the achievement of developmental goals. This year’s UNESCO’s World Press Freedom Conference pointed to themes relevant to our region: media capture and media extinction. In addition to these, we face a threat to independent journalism and the disappearance of smaller independent media entities. A survey commissioned by the Media Institute of the Caribbean in October 2020 indicated that as much as fifty-four per cent (54%) of journalists had to seek additional employment due to changes in the newsroom portfolio.

The pandemic circumstances showed the necessity for quality journalism and the significance of a constant and free flow of information as demanded by the public. The irony of our current situation is the evident significance of the role of media in a time of crisis, yet we seem to be fighting extinction.  There are peculiarities of the media ecosystem in small island developing states, including the level of financial dependence on government and state advertising revenue and the small economies of scale with deteriorating revenue from the private sector. There is a challenge for economic survival.

Among the more important requirements of such as commitment is the entrenched presence of mechanisms to facilitate the freer flow of official information. These include better resourced public information systems, a more conducive culture of governance and the presence of strong, meaningful legislation to better facilitate public access to state-held information.

Journalists stay determined to get the facts, data and information in the public interest. This is a crossroads in our information era, and it is time for all walks of society to join the call for Access to Information and Freedom of Information legislation. The media also continues to fight fake news but need facts to have victory.

Within the context of media extinction that the global journalism fraternity faces, it is essential to note that this means the demise of truth, which leads ultimately to the decay of democracy and the death of sustainable societies.

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  1. J. John-Charles
    May 5, 2021

    You will say Twitter, Facebook and others are private companies, don’t they have the right to decide who use their platform? Well, if Digicel or the New Chronicle would say “You will not be allowed to use my platform/ service, because I don’t like your political views.” Would you be OK with it.?

  2. Magway ca
    May 4, 2021

    The press is the biggest problem these days. The amount of lies and half truths that the press has been broadcasting and repeating these days. I say they have to much freedom and needs to be held responsible for the division and turmoil they are creating. Always twisting headlines and stories to make things look a certain way. The press have there freedom. What they need is to be held responsible for what they do with that freedom

  3. Me
    May 3, 2021

    Freedom of information……? Oh, if only!!!

  4. My little take
    May 3, 2021

    DNO should either write an article or post a comment to state the difficulties they are having. DNO should let the world know that the local authorities are so hard on them that they can’t investigate, can’t report the truth and can’t even moderate or publish comments by its readers because everyone is so afraid of the bulldog.DNO should let the world know that they are so scared of investigating important stories that in order for Dominicans to know what is happening they have to listen to Kenneth Rijock or read his blog. I believe this is a good foundation laid by the Caribbean media institute, to let the world know the difficulties the media is having with these corrupt leaders and I do hope DNO in particular will draw strength from them to let the world know that Dominica is almost gone if not completely gone

    • Ibo France
      May 4, 2021

      The PRESS in Dominica is too timid and some media houses exist solely to disseminate the ruling political party’s lies, half truths and mind bending propaganda.

      My Little Take, you are factually accurate with your assessment as to the functioning of the media in Dominica.

      At times I want to empathize with DNO knowing the vicious nature of those in power. However, DNO should offer more than just a stenographic repeat of statements by the powers that be. They should at least give an objective and independent critical analysis of issues affecting the country. Give impartial and unbiased solutions and suggestions to some of these perennial problems plaguing the country for umpteen of years.

      DNO, it’s hard but nothing good comes easily.

  5. Ibo France
    May 3, 2021

    Firstly, let me say that this article seems to be written spectrally because of what presently obtains in Dominica.

    I repeat for the umpteenth time. The media, as a single entity, has monumental social influence. It is like the vanguard of our democracy. A weak media in any independent jurisdiction, means wanton corruption, entrenched poverty, a brutal police force, a corrupt judicial system, a wide gap in the standard of living between the political elites and the masses of the people.

    Take a serious look at the present state of affairs in Dominica. All these things are not only evident they are prevalent.

    I acknowledge that many journalists and media houses operate under grave constraints (lack of access to government information, lack of financial resources, intimidation, threats of legal action, ostrasization , etc.) but better must be done despite these unnecessary hurdles.

    • J.John-Charles
      May 5, 2021

      We talking about press freedom.Yes, the journalists should be free to informed us, and that without outside pressure from the powers that be.But sad to say, most times they are corrupt like rotten fishes.I can remember during the reign of the UWP, a newsman from Marpin, put a mic in the face of minister Williams, with his camera on.And asked him about corruption in the administration.So Earl brushed aside . So the newsman said.
      “So Mr Williams, you know how to cover you tracks?” And Earl said,Yes I know how to cover my tracks.
      Bingo,,, and all that was played during the campaign,was Earl saying, I know how to cover my tracks.
      In the U.S.the media is the mouth piece of the Democrats. Any negative, will be suppressed.At the same time, they will invent bad stories about the Republicans. After Jan. 6 we were told by them, Trump supporters beat a policeman to death, with a fire extinguisher.But his death was a stroke.Facebook and others put a ban on Trump…

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