The Association of Caribbean MediaWorkers (ACM) observes World Press Freedom Day 2010 confident that our message of freedom of the press as the preserve of all citizens and not of a single privileged group or sector, including the media industry, is a position on which we find common universal cause.
Indeed, this right derives from the broader concept of free expression out of which virtually all other rights and freedoms flow or are maintained. If people cannot generate, seek and receive expression, human development in all its manifestations is jeopardised. Everywhere in the
As United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has reminded us on this occasion; around the world, there are governments and those wielding other forms of power who find many ways to obstruct free expression. We know this story very well. There are governments, special economic interests and misguided individuals and groups, firm in the belief that the case for freedom of the press should begin from a position of barriers ostensibly erected to somehow protect our societies from others and from ourselves.
The freedom perspective is the position the ACM has brought to the table of ideas and positions on this question of media and the work of journalists. Our leading role in the Global Forum for Media Development on which we serve as a representative of the Latin America and Caribbean region, our position on the Coordinating Committee of the Latin American and Caribbean Alliance of the International Freedom of Expression Exchange and our working relationship with the International Press Institute, Committee to Protect Journalists and Reporters with Borders all point to deep entrenchment of the view that professional development among media operatives and the networking of journalists find roots and strength in the need to operate in an environment in which freedom prevails.
Secretary General Ban also notes in his World Press Freedom Day message that even as countries move to introduce laws that recognise the universal right to publicly-held information, very often they don’t translate into action. This, he attributes to what he calls a “culture of secrecy and a lack of accountability.”
This, indeed, is a persistent
All of this however appears rather fanciful when we consider that in some of our countries in the
We are also paying attention to a situation in the
It is also suspected that rapidly declining state advertising contracts with the Kaieteur News in
Punishing those who attempt to freely express themselves or report the news also remains the norm rather than the exception in
There is a lot of work to be done to bring our countries more in line with the basic objectives of Article 19 of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights and a growing number of judicial precedents within the global and Inter-American systems. Now in our ninth year, the ACM remains committed to upholding such an aspiration. We join with our counterpart organisations throughout this hemisphere and elsewhere in recognizing the urgent importance of this event.