June 16, 2022
The Honourable Luis Almagro
Organization of American States
200 17th Street NW
Washington, DC 20006
Dear Secretary General,
The Association of Caribbean Media Workers (ACM) has taken note of Fact Sheet S-006/22 of June 7, 2022, released by the Press and Communications Department of the Organization of American States (OAS), on a proposed ‘Center for Media Integrity of the Americas’.
We recognise the value of the hemispheric context as outlined. It draws attention to democracy as being “unquestionably under siege in many countries throughout the Americas”; the contribution to the democratic process of “impartial, fact-based, news reporting and analysis”; and the need for “truly independent formal or informal” media and communicators.
We are however concerned that as an institution to be “nested within the Organization of American States”, there has been absolutely no consultation on development of such a Center with leading professional associations, representative industry bodies and academic institutions active in the 14 CARICOM Member States of the OAS.
These organisations, including the ACM, Caribbean Broadcasting Union (CBU), Media Institute of the Caribbean (MIC), Caribbean School for Media and Communication (CARIMAC) and other bodies and academic institutions are longstanding, major contributors to media development in the Caribbean region.
The ACM also notes that the composition of the Council of Advisors finds no space to accommodate the experience and expertise of eminent players in the conduct and development of Caribbean media.
In our view, this does not augur well for the inclusivity required to ensure full hemispheric engagement, resilience, and success.
We fully agree with and support the rationale behind the Center’s establishment, its proposed mandate to financially incentivise “the practice of independent, non-interest affiliated journalism and social media production throughout the Americas”, and a plan to “expand its partnerships among journalists, media outlets, academia and NGOs throughout the Hemisphere.”
We however find 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’s.
We can only assume, Secretary General, that you have been badly advised. We therefore bring this to your attention in good faith and without rancour, in the interest of ensuring that the Media Center is a success and that it meets all the requirements of a wider process that embraces the whole hemisphere as a space for collective action on behalf of all our people.
ACM General Secretary