Journalists trained on how better to cover elections
April 30, 2010
Journalists trained on how better to cover elections

Print and broadcast journalists from several media houses throughout St. Vincent and the Grenadines converged at the University of the West Indies (UWI) Open Campus last Saturday for training on elections coverage.{{more}}

The training, facilitated by the Association of Caribbean Media Workers (ACM), also featured the Launch of the Election Handbook for Caribbean Journalists.

Speaking at the brief launch of the book, Supervisor of Elections, Sylvia Findlay, noted that the presence of journalists during an election is very important as they provide the electorate with necessary information.

Stating that the launch of the book came at an appropriate time as this country’s elections are drawing near, Findlay added that journalists “to a large extent, can influence the mood of elections campaigns and the outcome of the polls.”

Quoting from a statement made by the Organization of American States in 2009, Findlay highlighted that “‘free and fair elections are possible only where electorate is well informed and has access to pluralistic and sufficient information.’”

She also encouraged the media’s partnership with the Electoral Office to ensure that the public receives accurate and timely reports during the elections period.

Also making brief comments, President of the ACM, Wesley Gibbings, gave an overview of the organisation which was established in 2001 in Barbados.

The ACM, which comprises ten national associations of media workers and journalists from across the Caribbean, is structured on three main pillars. The first, Gibbings stated, focuses on establishing a cadre of journalists who share the idea of a free press and the aspiration of a journalistic fraternity.

He mentioned that the ACM is founded on the philosophy that as professionals, media workers should have an interest in making the Caribbean a better place for its people and all our children.

He further highlighted that confidence in the system and the information emerging out of the election process is key to any election. Without confidence in the system or in the media workers, parties and other affiliates of the election process, Gibbings stated, it will be difficult for the Caribbean to achieve a level of social cohesion and a level of enlightenment that will take us into the future.

ACM focal point in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Theresa Daniel, gave an outline of the objectives of the training which included raising awareness of the journalistic requirements for the coverage of elections and the creation of a deeper network of Vincentian Journalists.

The training sessions included lessons on Elections Coverage and Democracy, The Management of Elections, A Model for Media Conduct at Elections, Elections Coverage as a Journalistic Assignment, and Media Monitoring and Refereeing.

The Facilitators included Wesley Gibbings, Journalists Raoul Pantin and Lennox Grant. Sylvia Findlay conducted the session on The Management of Elections.

Similar sessions have been done in various Caribbean countries, with the most recent having been done in Trinidad and Tobago. (OS)