Port of Spain – The Association of Caribbean Media Workers (ACM) has reminded regional governments that the battle against coronavirus (COVID-19) is a war that has to be waged through data and information that are accurate and timely.
In a message to mark World Press Freedom Day 2020 – under the theme Journalism Without Fear Or Favour, the regional association noted that the battle “cannot be won solely with syringes, ventilators, and medicinal trials”.
“It is a disservice to a public in need of guidance and vital information that some Caribbean policymakers have chosen to deliver partial information through one-way processes that do not provide platforms for responses to informed inquiry in the public interest. In this regard, observance of the value of a free press can be an important antidote in the arsenal assembled to battle COVID-19.”
“The COVID-19 crisis has so far also taught us an important lesson that many Caribbean governments need to pay greater attention to crisis communication systems capable of addressing the phenomenon of fake news, misinformation, and disinformation.”
The ACM also noted that this year’s observance of World Press Freedom Day is being held at “ a most critical period in world history – a time when we are far more integrated by modern Information Communications Technology, but also when we are facing socio-economic collapse globally as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and its accompanying responses”.
The statement also recognized the potential of the crisis to undermine the economic stability of the media sector and, in the process, reduce the ability of independent journalism to be applied under such circumstances.
“The Association of Caribbean Media Workers stands ready to play its part in the furtherance of press freedom more so in challenging times like this one.”
The ACM also expressed sympathy to colleagues in the Caribbean who may have lost loved ones to COVID-19.
“To media workers whose lives have been snatched by this dreaded disease, we salute them and thank them for their contributions to the public they served.” (CMC)