JIS News

Developed states through their consolidation of media and information communication technologies often shape the views of reality and structure the perspectives of consumers in the developing states. This is the ‘world information order’ and it is being challenged.
Expressing this view, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Information, Culture, Youth and Sports (MICYS), Faith Innerarity tells JIS News that, “What we are seeking [is] greater participation where we are better able to influence international opinion.”
“Because of their access to superior technology and also the resources which they have, there’s a bit of hegemony in respect of the developed world and the ideas that they put across and the type of images and even the way our countries in the developing world are portrayed,” Mrs. Innerarity notes.
The countries of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) have started discussions on media partnerships that will not only bring member state cultures to the fore but also to their television sets. In time Jamaicans should have a better understanding and a more realistic picture of its southern neighbours, she says.
The NAM is made up of developing countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, Africa and Asia. It had its genesis in the Cold War in which a number of states decided to align themselves with neither the United States of America (USA) nor the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). Today the Movement exists to highlight issues of greatest importance to these nations and facilitate dialogue to share information, expertise, best practices, and experiences to foster continued development.
The questions, therefore, can be asked: ‘How is Jamaica viewed in places such as Africa, Asia and Latin America? Where does the information originate and who informs the views?’
Most of the views of developing countries emanate from the developed countries of the North namely the USA and those in Western Europe, such as the United Kingdom (UK).
In looking at the need for developing countries to share opportunities and appreciate diversity by bridging the information gap, Mrs. Innerarity points out, “The countries of the South are at different levels of development and therefore there are some countries with more financial resources.”
She adds that they also have more resources with respect to access to technology. “We are hoping for technical cooperation and assistance in terms of training to build our human resource capacity and facilitate exchanges in terms of news networks,” the Permanent Secretary says of discussions held in Venezuela recently, where she led a Jamaican delegation to the 7th Conference of Ministers of Information of NAM in Margarita Island.
High on the agenda at the conference were the need for more communication between member states, and the information disparity between developed and developing states, and among the developing countries of the South.
While there is no denying that information is power, thought must be given to the more powerful factor of ownership of the technology, in order to communicate the information.
“In harnessing Information Communication Technologies we will be able to address food and energy crises; alleviate and ultimately eradicate poverty; redress the imbalance of knowledge, which we face between and within countries; and promote democracy and justice,” Mrs. Innerarity posited in her address at the NAM conference.
This enthusiasm and conviction by the Permanent Secretary is grounded in the fact that through communication, developing states will be able to share expertise, experiences and information on best practices, engender more informed cooperation, and ultimately create and unlock many mutually beneficial opportunities.
The question as to whether the communications cartel of the developed world will be broken any time soon is debatable. However on the topic of more communication and information flow between developing states, there is a new resolve and fervour from the South to achieve it as they realize that socially, economically, and politically this will redound to their benefit.
Speaking on the way forward for Jamaica and other developing countries to fulfill their commitments to engender increased communication between developing states, Mrs. Innerarity is calling on Jamaicans to adopt additional educational strategies.
She contends that “given the fact that many of our neighbours are Spanish-speaking, more emphasis should be placed on Spanish in our schools.”