New Year’s Message from the President of the Association of Caribbean MediaWorkers
The ACM extends greetings to all members,associates and friends of the organisation as we enter a new year which we expect to be as challenging but filled with opportunity as the previous 13 years of our existence.
My wish for the ACM in 2015 is that we will continue growingin stature and influence regionally and internationally, but even moreimportantly, that we make a greater difference in the professional lives of allour members and media practitioners of the Caribbean.
The year 2014 was very important for us because it markedthe beginning of a process of institutional reform. This has turned out to be achallenging task, especially in view of the fact that we continue to operateentirely as a voluntary organisation with limited funding.
Our hope, as an executive council, is to be able to both deepen and expand the scope of our mandate as a professional regional organisation – relying all the while on the enhanced capacities of our national affiliates and focal points. Toward this end we have enhanced our online presence, including a review of our website which can now be located at www.acmpress.org,and increased reliance on social media via our Facebook and Twitter accounts.
Our popular listserv continues to be a main conduit for transmission of ACM related news and information and a platform for journalistic discussion and debate. However, we have noticed a growing trend in the direction of social media interaction and will continue to facilitate and upgrade such activity.
In 2014, we initiated a landmark series of UNESCO-funded media consultations on developing a framework for media self-regulation in the Caribbean. The countries covered were Guyana, Jamaica, St Lucia and Trinidad and Tobago. This was a highly-successful initiative we plan to eventually take for wider stakeholder consideration. Our final report is currently under review and we will make this available to members in due course.
We also participated in a variety of national, regional and international activities including observance of World Press Freedom Day 2014 in Jamaica for Caribbean observances and in Brazil for Latin American activities.
Our General Secretary, Wesley Gibbings, currently serves as Deputy Convenor of the International Freedom of Expression Exchange (IFEX) and sits on its interim Board of Directors as it seeks incorporation as a legal entity separate and distinct from its host, Canadian Journalists for Freedom of Expression (CJFE).
Gibbings is also a member of the Steering Committee of the Global Forum for Media Development headquartered in Geneva.
The ACM is also involved in partnership agreements with the International Press Institute (IPI) and Pacific Islands News Association (PINA).
Our involvement in these organisations has created avenues for Caribbean media development that have never existed before. In 2012, we hosted the membership of IPI in Trinidad and Tobago and in 2015, Port of Spain will also be the venue for the international congress of IFEX with more than 100 media and free expression organisations from all over the world in attendance.
There however remains work to be done to strengthen the network and its affiliates, develop a strategy for greater financial viability and independence and become more entrenched in the Caribbean media fraternity as the premier institution concerned with promoting media development in the region and serving as an authoritative voice on press freedom issues.
This requires that we all join in the task of creating anenvironment in which press freedom can flourish through enlightened advocacy,more effective networking across national borders and more intense work to lift professional standards.
Happy New Year to all!