Community Media Play A Key Role – Senator Falconer

Photo: Garwin Davis Minister of Information, Senator the Hon. Sandrea Falconer, addressing the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s (UNESCO) Forum of Caribbean Community Media Partners, held on Thursday (November 26) at the Hilton Rose Hall Hotel, St. James.

Story Highlights

  • Minister with responsibility for Information, Senator the Hon. Sandrea Falconer, has expressed full support for community media entities and small cable operations, noting that they have an important role to play in national development.
  • Ms. Falconer said she is of the view that the post 2015 era will give rise to the strength and importance of community media, and called on corporate entities throughout the region to lend their support to these entities.
  • In the February 2015 report, compiled by Reporters Without Borders (RWB), Jamaica is ranked ninth out of 180 countries in press freedom. This is an improvement over the country’s 17th position last year.

Minister with responsibility for Information, Senator the Hon. Sandrea Falconer, has expressed full support for community media entities and small cable operations, noting that they have an important role to play in national development.

Stating that she is a “big believer” in these entities, the Minister said they ensure that the voice of the dispossessed, the elderly, the disabled and those with limited access to technology can be heard.

“Community media can have a national impact. If we are to develop as a nation, if we are to develop regionally, we have to support the local community media houses that are on the ground…and are there with the people…and are there to ensure that their needs are not ignored,” she said.

The Information Minister was addressing a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Forum of Caribbean Community Media partners at the Hilton Rose Hall Hotel, Montego Bay, on November 26.

She pointed out that community media operations have the potential to evolve into national entities.

“Certainly, in our experience here in Jamaica, we have seen community media morph into national media.  IRIE FM, KLAS, and HOT 102 started out as community stations before they evolved into national media houses,” she pointed.

She also cited MELLO FM, which has grown significantly, commanding a huge market share and strong listenership nationally.  She further mentioned community newspapers such as the Mirror, North Coast Times and the News, which cover national issues.

Ms. Falconer said she is of the view that the post 2015 era will give rise to the strength and importance of community media, and called on corporate entities throughout the region to lend their support to these entities.

“I say to the private sector, look and see how best you can help community media. I urge advertising companies to spare a little for these community entities…they are important to a healthy democracy, they are important to nation building,” she pointed out.

The Minister, in the meantime, said Jamaica’s recent top 10 ranking in the World Press Freedom Index shows that the country values freedom of expression, which augurs well, as it continues on the road to economic development.

She said democracy is better served by having a free press and that Jamaica has been a leader in the region in that regard.

“We are a country that supports freedom of expression, and anyone who has been following the media in Jamaica would readily agree,” she said.

In the February 2015 report, compiled by Reporters Without Borders (RWB), Jamaica is ranked ninth out of 180 countries in press freedom. This is an improvement over the country’s 17th position last year.

RWB is a France-based non-profit, non-governmental, media watchdog that promotes and defends freedom of information and freedom of the press. The group has consultant status with the United Nations (UN).

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