Information Framework Strengthening for Developing Countries


Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Information, Culture, Youth, and Sports (MICYS), Mrs. Faith Innerarity has said that the recently concluded 7th Conference of Ministers of Information of the Non-Aligned Movement will strengthen information systems in developing countries like Jamaica, to ensure that the country’s ideas and images accurately reflect our people and identity.
Mrs. Innerarity made the point during an interview with JIS News recently following the return of Jamaica’s delegation to the conference, which was hosted by Margarita Island in Venezuela from July 3-4.
“Very often, the way issues affecting our country are treated in the international media is usually not a fair coverage,” she pointed out, noting that “it’s just one element that is normally highlighted and there are many good things happening in our country which are never given exposure.”
She explained that the conference, which attracted more than 70 nations, will put countries of the South in a better position to influence how they are regarded.
“I think this is the experience of many other developing countries and when we are in a stronger position to give greater exposure to our own culture and to the things that are happening in our part of the world, I think we will strengthen our capacity for development,” she added.
This view speaks to the monopolization of ownership of media and Information Communication Technologies (ICT) by the developed countries of the North, namely the United States of America (USA), and those in Western Europe such as the United Kingdom (UK), and their consequent domination of content and dissemination.
A significant number of citizens in developing countries, inclusive of those in regions regarded as the South namely: Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean, and Asia, have little choice but to view the world through the lenses of developed countries.
Against this backdrop of information disparities between the developed and developing worlds, and among the developing countries of the South, Mrs. Innerarity, in her presentation at the conference, reaffirmed Jamaica’s commitment “to work with media projects within the region of the South to promote South-South cooperation in investments in Information Communication Technologies (ICTs) and expansion of access for the underserved.”
Additionally, the Permanent Secretary also shared information on Jamaica’s advances, particularly in the area of public broadcasting, as they relate to the work being done by the Public Broadcasting Corporation of Jamaica (PBCJ), and of plans to have programmes and information available via satellite as soon as possible.
Mrs. Innerarity also placed special emphasis on the issue of access to ICTs for all individuals, especially people with disabilities so that they can fully participate. This view complements Jamaica’s stance, since it was the first country in the world to ratify the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
On another note, the Permanent Secretary and the delegation also had discussions with Congresswoman Noeli Pocaterra, an appointed Chair of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples and Vice President of the National Assembly in Venezuela about their commitment to the preservation, promotion, and inclusion of indigenous peoples in both countries and throughout the region, as this relates to improved access to information and empowering them to participate effectively in society.
In realizing the objective of an information order where there is greater South-South information flow, Principal Director, Information Division in the Ministry, Jo-Anne Archibald, told JIS News: “It was really quite palpable, the passion and commitment of all the countries to ensure that we move forward and seize the opportunities that information communication technologies have presented us.”
The Non-Aligned Movement is made up of developing countries located in Latin America and the Caribbean, Africa, and Asia. It had its genesis in the era of Cold War in which a number of states decided against aligning themselves with either the USA or the now defunct Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). Today it 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.

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