UNESCO hosts Caribbean Media and Communication Conference in Grenada
UNESCO's Office in Kingston, in collaboration with the Caribbean Broadcasting Union (CBU), Association of Caribbean Media Workers (ACM), the Media Workers Association of Grenada (MWAG) and the Grenada National Commission for UNESCO, organized the 12th Annual Caribbean Media and Communication Conference (CMCC) in St. Georges, Grenada, on 13 and 14 May 2009.
The Conference saw over 53 participants from 10 countries in the region, ranging from policy makers, journalists, media entrepreneurs, educators and media managers, who gathered to formally celebrate World Press Freedom Day 2009 (observed on 3 May). The theme of the Conference was "Media and Dialogue".
Among the issues discussed at the Conference were:
- Media's internal dialogue: Training, standards and ethics in the profession;
- Caribbean in a global world: Media perspectives;
- Public service broadcasting and social issues reporting;
- The future of media: Electronic and new media;
- The future of the Caribbean newspaper;
- Media's role in sustainable development; and
- The media and intercultural dialogue.
The main speaker at the opening ceremony was Tillman Thomas, Prime Minister of Grenada, who urged Caribbean journalists to be impartial in the exercising of their profession. He also stressed the important role of the media in educating and informing Caribbean people about issues relevant to the region, such as governance. Also speaking at the opening ceremony was Franka Bernadine, Minister of Education of Grenada. She welcomed all regional participants and thanked UNESCO for its efforts in promoting freedom of the press and freedom of expression.
In his address to the Conference, Isidro Fernandez Aballí, UNESCO's Advisor for Communication and Information in the Caribbean, thanked Prime Minister Tillman and the people of Grenada for hosting the conference and stressed UNESCO's role as a primary defender of press freedom. He also invited members of the audience to observe "one minute's silence" in memory of all journalists who had died in any part of the world in the past year in the exercise of the profession.
In addition, Mr Fernandez-Aballi reiterated the call of Director General of UNESCO, Koichiro Matsura, to "strengthen our efforts to build a media that is critical, tolerant of alternative perspectives, a media that brings challenging narratives into a common story of interdependence; a media that responds through dialogue".
Representatives of CBU, MWAG and ACM thanked UNESCO for its continued sponsorship of the Conference and pledged to go on working with UNESCO for the defense of press freedom. They also expressed their commitment to maintaining the dialogue between media, governments and civil society.