By: Rawle Titus
Prime Minister Tillman Thomas has launched Media Week in Grenada with an appeal for practitioners to remain free of associations and activities that compromise their profession.
In a national radio and television address Sunday Prime Minister Thomas also called on media practitioners to resist the urge to mislead the public by manipulating information.
Prime Minister Thomas’ address kicked off a week of activities for media practitioners in Grenada ranging from school visits, donations and workshops, to church service and river tubing expeditions.
“Our practitioners must ensure that our readers can differentiate between opinion and fact in any report” Prime Minister Thomas said.
“They must ensure that the public can differentiate between a journalist and the work of a paid public relations officer”.
Mr. Thomas’s four year old National Democratic Congress administration has been under intense media scrutiny lately over ongoing internal wrangling that has led to the resignation of two senior ministers and the sacking of a junior Minister.
“Analysis and commentary must be justly labeled. Conflicts of interest real or perceived should be avoided “said Thomas whose office has occasionally voiced concern about the manner in which current issues of governance and politics are covered in some sections of the local media.
“Journalists must remain free from associations and activities that would compromise their integrity or damage their credibility. They must admit mistakes and correct them promptly while exposing unethical practices”.
Recently, MWAG and the Prime Minister’s office have been at loggerheads over the firing of the editor of a local newspaper for publishing a story capturing the division within the governing party.
“Our country needs trained mature and professional broadcasters and journalists who are prepared to maintain high standards consistently in the practice of the craft” Mr. Thomas said in his address.
“Paid political consultants must never betray the journalistic profession”.
The Grenadian leader also announced that work was continuing towards a media policy as well as to the removal of criminal libel laws from the island’s law books.
His comments coincide with the start of a two-week four-nation mission in the Caribbean to push for the repeal of criminal defamation laws.
The mission, involving members of the Vienna based International Press Institute (IPI) and the Port of Spain headquartered Association of Caribbean Media Workers (ACM), is visiting Barbados, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, and Trinidad and Tobago to meet with representatives of government, media, and civil society.©