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Story Highlights

  • Local and regional media have been challenged to assist citizens with economic literacy, by keeping them informed about issues affecting governments.
  • The Minister was speaking at a UNESCO seminar, held on Friday, May 2, in Kingston, to mark World Press Freedom Day.
  • She said that while development reporting might not be “as sexy and as sensational” to tackle, it is necessary if the media are to discharge their mandate of informing the people.

Local and regional media have been challenged to assist citizens with economic literacy, by keeping them informed about issues affecting governments.

“People in the Caribbean need to know how the actions of their leaders are constrained by what takes place outside of the region.  Our Caribbean media have a responsibility, an obligation, to let the people of the Caribbean know what their Governments are facing in this highly connected, interdependent world,” Minister of Information, Senator, the Hon. Sandrea Falconer, has emphasized.

The Minister was speaking at a UNESCO seminar, held on Friday, May 2, in Kingston, to mark World Press Freedom Day.

She said that while development reporting might not be “as sexy and as sensational” to tackle, it is necessary if the media are to discharge their mandate of informing the people.

Senator Falconer stressed that the population must know, “why we have to reduce the debt burden; why we must keep good fiscal balances; and why we need to increase exports and build capacity.”

The Minister argued that citizens must be encouraged to: support local and regional industries; defend the bonds between peoples in the region; and promote greater Caribbean integration and unity among the Caribbean people. She added that people should be more educated about climate change and what to do to mitigate natural hazards.

“If the people are educated on these issues, I believe there will be movement toward consensus and the channeling of creative energies in finding solutions and less into fighting needlessly among themselves,” she said.

Arguing that “this is not the time for ‘neutral’ journalists,” Senator Falconer said development imperative does not provide for journalists to sit on the sidelines.

The Minister emphasized that Caribbean media must commit to the development agenda and approach the job with the same zeal and intensity expressed in the pursuit of other types of stories.

Senator Falconer spoke on the topic: ‘Press Freedom and Development in the Caribbean’. The seminar was held under the theme: ‘Reaching New Goals: Free Media Fortifies the post-2015 Development Agenda’.