ACM passes resolutions on impunity, media self-regulation
IPI strategic partner also welcomes Clive Bacchus as new president
By: Scott Griffen, IPI Press Freedom Adviser for Latin America and the Caribbean
LONDON, Oct 30, 2013 — The need to combat impunity and the importance of media self-regulation were the guiding themes in a pair of resolutions approved this weekend by the Association of Caribbean MediaWorkers (ACM), an IPI strategic partner.
Gathered in Trinidad and Tobago for the organisation's biennial General Assembly, ACM members representing 11 countries called on regional governments to "more vigorously pursue justice on behalf of victims of human rights violations in all their manifestations."
In the first resolution, the organisation highlighted a number of unsolved attacks on journalists, including the murders of Ronald Waddell (Guyana, 2006) and Jean Leopold Dominique (Haiti, 2000); and the execution of five Surinamese opposition journalists in December 1982.
Recognising the importance of IFEX International Day to End Impunity on Nov. 23, ACM added that its member organisations and individual members have an "important role to play in raising public awareness on, detecting, reporting on and advocating for action on all instances of impunity for violations of human rights."
In a second resolution focused largely on media ethics, ACM reaffirmed that "fairness and accuracy are core values of the journalistic profession," standards that can only be achieved "if editors and journalists all strive to achieve complete editorial independence."
The resolution also highlighted the need for media self-regulation, stating that the "credibility" of the media is a "necessary condition for the development of a healthy media landscape". The creation of self-regulatory bodies, the resolution said, would constitute "an important step to limit state and government interference in the content of news media and their editorial policies."
IPI Press Freedom Manager Barbara Trionfi attended the General Assembly on behalf of IPI. Trionfi, who is also the current IFEX Convenor, delivered an overview of press freedom concerns in the Caribbean and spoke about the importance of independent journalism. Congraulating ACM and its members for thier work, Trionfi stressed the unique position that independent journalists' associations occupy in the defence of press freedom and the promotion of good jouralistic standards at the national level.
ACM also welcomed its new president, St. Kitts journalist Clive Bacchus. Bacchus took over the leadership role from Trinidadian Wesley Gibbings, who will continue to serve as General Secretary. Peter Richards of Trinidad and Tobago and Dr Canute James of Jamaica will act as first and second vice presidents, respectively.
Founded in 2001, the Association of Caribbean MediaWorkers is comprised of individual journalists as well as media associations "spanning the Caribbean basin." ACM works closely together with IPI on a number of press-freedom issues affecting the Caribbean and, in particular, on the joint IPI-ACM campaign to repeal criminal defamation in the Caribbean.