Observing Press Freedom

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As World Press Freedom Day 2009 is observed on May 04, Let me acknowledge on this most appropriate occasion, the men and women of the media fraternity in Saint Lucia. Let me also recognise media workers in the Caribbean region and the world, some of whom are here to cover the 18th Saint Lucia Jazz Festival.

On World Press Freedom Day, Secretary-General Of The United Nations, Ban Ki-Moon paid tribute to “all those who work in difficult conditions to ensure that the rest of the world can have access to free and unbiased information. Let us renew our resolve to protect their freedom and safety, and let us proclaim again our commitment to free and independent media as an essential agent of human rights, development and peace.”

The observance highlights the reality of MEDIA WORK, which, contrary to public opinion, is not cushy and glamorous. Not only is the work difficult but the pay and benefits do not reflect the hard work, creativity and risks that media work requires.

The combined pressures of the job can become almost intolerable and it takes tenacity to survive in an environment where gratitude is scarce and the ignorance of those media workers seek to entertain, uplift, educate and protect, results in hostility and vitriol from those same quarters. Whether news, opinion or entertainment, the quality of sound, video and print; the type of photos, music and videos; the content of news or opinion pieces; all come under constant attack from all sectors, including the media itself.

However, whilst it is a competitive field, the media can also be a close fraternity, and acquaintances become friends all in the course of a day’s work. We are our greatest critics but also our greatest supporters, and that is as it should be because above all else the media is about freedom of information and expression.

So greetings to all my ‘friends’ in the media, in Saint Lucia and the many far flung places that one connects with through the media. I join the members of the ACM as they offer their continuing unreserved support.

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