Caribbean Media Workers Association files protest note with OAS Secretary General regarding exclusion from media initiative

Updated on Monday, June 20, 2022 at 12:33 by Denis Chabrol

The Caribbean Media Workers Association (ACM) has vigorously opposed the Organization of American States (OAS) sidelining the 15 nations of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) in the creation of a Center for integrity of the Americas media that would supposedly benefit the region.

In a protest letter to OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro, ACM welcomed the proposed center, but criticized the OAS for not engaging with several regional media outlets.

“We are concerned, however, that as an institution to be ’embedded within the Organization of American States,’ there has been absolutely no consultation on the development of such a center with major professional associations. , industry representative bodies and academic institutions active in the 14 CARICOM member states of the OAS,” ACM said. ACM had hoped that these organizations, including itself, the Caribbean Broadcasting Union (CBU), Caribbean Media Institute (MIC), Caribbean School of Media and Communication (CARIMAC) and other academic bodies and institutions are long-time major contributors to the media development in the Caribbean region would have been engaged in the formation of the center.

In the past, member states have come under intense pressure to obtain a sub-regional block of votes in favor of candidates for the post of Secretary General of the OAS.

The ACM also told the OAS Secretary General that political and media decision makers in the Caribbean have been clearly excluded from the work of the proposed Center for Media Integrity for the Americas. ”

“The ACM also notes that the composition of the Council of Advisors does not find room to accommodate the experience and expertise of eminent players in the conduct and development of the Caribbean media. In our view, this does not bode well for the inclusivity needed to ensure full hemispheric engagement, resilience and success,” the ACM said in its letter dated June 16, 2022 and made public June 20.

The ACM said it welcomed the value of the center’s hemispheric context, adding that it drew attention to democracy as being “unquestionably under siege in many countries across the Americas”; the contribution to the democratic process of “unbiased and factual news reporting and analysis”; and the need for “truly independent formal or informal” media and communicators.

“We fully agree with and support the rationale for the establishment of the Center, its proposed mandate to financially incentivize ‘the practice of independent and unaffiliated journalism and the production of social media in the Americas’, and a plan to “expand its partnerships between journalists, media, universities and NGOs across the Continent,” the ACM said.

Stating that the ACM finds it “extremely regrettable that the Caribbean Community and some of its prized media and academic institutions have been ignored in an initiative of the Secretary-General,” the regional media body called on Secretary-General Almagro to take urgent action to repair the omission of the Caribbean in the establishment and decision-making mechanism of the centre.

“We can only assume, Secretary-General, that you have been misinformed. We therefore bring this to your attention in good faith and without hard feelings, so that the Media House is a success and meets all the requirements of a broader process that embraces the whole hemisphere as a space for action. collective on behalf of all our people,” the ACM said in its letter signed by General Secretary Harvey Panka.

The voice of the Caribbean is often silenced by Latin American countries in many hemispheric and global decision-making bodies.

Andrew B. Reiter