Thursday, 24 January 2013

ACM HOPEFUL – Group wants removal of media accreditation fees

THE Association of Caribbean Media (ACM) workers on Monday welcomed word that organisers of the 42nd Junior CARIFTA Games in The Bahamas are re-considering a unilateral decision to impose
a US$100 media accreditation fee for media workers engaged in covering the event.

In a statement, the ACM said the imposition deviates from long-standing regional and international practice and has the potential to inhibit the work of the regional media in covering an event which attracts significant public attention.

“Our concern does not diminish the support of Caribbean media workers for the efficient conduct of the Games as part of the country’s 40th Independence Anniversary. But we believe, if implemented, imposition of the fee could have serious, negative implications regarding issues of freedom of information and media freedom.”

It said that media from Jamaica, Haiti, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Dominica, St. Kitts and Nevis, Suriname, Belize and many others are expected to register for the Games. “This fee, on top of the already exorbitant costs of intra-regional travel, accommodation and other expenses and taking into
account the vast differences in exchange rates between nations, may simply prove prohibitive for many media workers.”

The ACM reiterated that people at home have an interest in tracking the progress of their heroes and the more extensive the coverage the better. Local audiences usually take pride in their athletes, even if they are not the centre of attention, and it is through increased media access that this is facilitated.

According to the regional media grouping, the CARIFTA Games were meant to enhance relations between countries of the Caribbean by highlighting commonality of purpose amongst these countries and promoting greater interconnectedness in the region.

“The desire to inspire and motivate our young people, in particular, for positive regional development is also still very much alive. We believe these goals are closer to realisation when our best efforts are made to accommodate the press and thereby increase public access to the Games.

“The ACM wishes the Local Organising Committee (LOC) of the 42nd CARIFTA Games every success and looks forward to the announcement that this decision has been rescinded,” it concluded.

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