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Information Minister Challenges Caribbean Media to Place More Emphasis on Development Issues

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Minister with responsibility for Information, Senator the Hon. Sandrea Falconer has challenged the media to pay more attention to development issues.

Speaking at a regional forum in Kingston hosted by UNESCO under the theme “Reaching New Goals: Free Media Fortifies the post-2015 Development Agenda‟, Senator Falconer said, “media role in development goes beyond uncovering scandals, sniffing out corruption and unveiling smelly deals involving people with power. It involves helping people to understand the grave issues which face them and the complex development options which confront the Caribbean.”

Minister Falconer said that as a region of mostly small-developing states faced with development challenges and structural economic impediments, the reality of underdevelopment needs to be explained to the people and the Press can play a vital role in that process.

According to Minister Falconer, the Press should resist the temptation to sensationalize, politicize and trivialize issues and seek instead to explain to the people the tough choices and challenges that they will face, no matter who is in power. “I believe our media should help with economic literacy. People in the Caribbean need to know how the actions of their leaders are constrained by what takes place outside of the region,” adding: “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.”

The Information Minister said that if people are educated on these issues, there will be a movement toward consensus and the channeling of creative energies into finding solutions and less into fighting needlessly among themselves.

Some 30 regional media practitioners and journalists are participating in a two-day UNESCO forum as part of activities marking World Press Freedom Day in the Caribbean 2014.

While acknowledging that the Caribbean has a distinguished track record of press freedom and independence, Minister Falconer urged the media to deepen that tradition by standing with the people in their legitimate quest for development. “Caribbean  media  must  commit  to  the  development  agenda  and  approach  that job with the same zeal and intensity as you do in pursuing stories about corruption, abuse of power, Governmental overreach and corporate intrigue,” she said.

By OPM Communications Unit

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