St. Kitts and Nevis (WINN): The President of the Media Workers Association of Grenada, Shere-ann Noel, believes the diminished relationship between the media and the government has hindered press freedom in Grenada.
Ms. Noel who was speaking to WINN FM for World Press Freedom Day on May 3rd, discussed the current state of affairs regarding free media in Grenada.
“Based on certain situations that have occurred over the past year, we’ve had certain media houses encounter problems entering the court, we have had a newspaper write to the bar association about an incident where one of the lawyers tried to hinder the worker from actually taking a picture of the said lawyer to accompany her writing and reporting from the court. So, to an extent, I will say that the freedom of the press in Grenada has diminished somewhat and media people need now to take a more affirmative stance in terms of how they approach the work and actually take a stance for what it is you want or what you want to do within the realms of your freedom. Because yes, it is freedom the press, but we all know everything has a particular limit, and that is my actual take on it.”
Ms. Noel says that despite difficulties of obtaining information from the government, the people of Grenada were actively engaged with the media, oftentimes assisting them in their reporting.
However, the President of the Grenada Media Workers Association added that the taboo nature of certain issues in Grenada often prevented media houses from getting adequate information to report accurately on incidents.
“You still have people who feel that the media shouldn’t speak out on certain issues, so certain information is still hidden from the media. There are a lot of issues in Grenada, some of which are becoming very prevalent in the news in terms of incest, molestation, and issues in politics, and certain media outlets that actually go the extra mile to get the information still have serious problems in terms of accessing that information to enlighten the public.”
In this year’s World Press Freedom Index the OECS which was ranked as a group, fell from thirty on the index to thirty-eight in the world. Ms. Noel said that the government of Grenada is working towards increasing the level of freedom available to the media.
“To be honest with you, there has been ongoing dialogue, there were certain things put within the bill over the past years that they have retracted that would have hindered the freedom of the press. At this point in time they are trying to get media to come together as a unit and be more involved in getting a media policy because at this point there is not really a documented media policy in Grenada, so I think the extra effort from them in trying to get the media to get that policy is a step in the right direction in terms of government and trying to ensure that freedom of the press.”
Ms. Noel added that journalists can advance press freedom in the region by treating their profession with importance and focus on their duty as journalists.