Dec 31, 2015 – On behalf of the Association of Caribbean MediaWorkers (ACM) I wish to extend greetings to all our members, supporters and stakeholders as we approach our 15th Anniversary in 2016 with an agenda for action and change that intensified throughout 2015 and will surely extend into the New Year.
Your new executive committee has been working hard to ensure that the ACM becomes better equipped to meet the mandate set by this organisation when it first convened in Barbados in the year 2001.
During the course of the coming 12 months we will be engaged in a number of projects and activities. These include work on development of a Guide for Caribbean Media Practitioners on coverage of children and their rights, in collaboration with the Caribbean Broadcasting Union (CBU), UNICEF and other regional agencies.
We also plan to further work on our UNESCO-supported project launched in 2014 on Development of a Framework for Media Self-Regulation in the Caribbean with pilot programmes in a number of countries.
The ACM is also currently involved in discussions regarding the hosting of World Press Freedom Day Caribbean activities in May and possible participation in the World Congress of the International Press Institute, with which we have a partnership agreement, in Doha in March, coinciding with the World Media Summit.
As active members of the International Freedom of Expression Exchange (IFEX) we will also continue to provide a Caribbean voice to hemispheric and global efforts to ensure that freedom of expression is observed and maintained in our region. I currently occupy a seat on the IFEX Council while our Vice President, Jabari Fraser, sits on the Steering Committee of the IFEX Latin American and Caribbean Alliance.
Additionally, we will continue our work as members of the Steering Committee of the Global Forum for Media Development (GFMD) which hosts its General Meeting in 2016.
National reports received at our Biennial Assembly in Trinidad last October are currently being edited and compiled for publication as a State of the Caribbean Media Report. The last time we undertook such an exercise was in 2005 with publication of The Looming Storm.
We look forward, as well, to continued work to help strengthen the ability of our national associations to better represent their members in the eleven countries in which we have affiliates. These include: Antigua & Barbuda, Barbados, Curacao, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, St Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago. There will also be a focus on re-engaging our colleagues in Haiti and moving St Vincent and the Grenadines forward from its current Focal Point status to a full national affiliate.
Very often, the ACM is called upon to respond, as a point of first reference, to developments in countries in which national affiliates exist. This is not the most desirable scenario. The ACM remains a network organisation with national arms to serve as first responders at times of need. It is our mandate to provide backup and support and also to develop programmes that benefit our organisational and individual members.
Our new Code of Ethics was approved at the Biennial Assembly in October. And I point specifically to guideline number 15 which calls on journalists and media organisations not to engage in acts of plagiarism. This is a most unacceptable practice that is becoming increasingly prevalent, especially regarding online content. We call on our national affiliates to exercise greater vigilance in monitoring and reporting on this trend.
Administratively, we are currently attempting to develop a register of journalists and media operatives involved with the ACM as financial members, via our listserv, our core ACM Facebook page and our Journalists of the Caribbean Sea initiative.
Look out as well for even more activity on our social media platforms – Facebook and Twitter in particular – and stay tuned for more developments as they occur.
I close by calling on media practitioners to become more involved in your national association and work harder to strengthen and maintain them. Strong national affiliates make for a stronger ACM.
I wish you and your family all the best for the New Year and look forward to your continued support.