The call was made by outgoing President of the Association of Caribbean Media Workers (ACM), Clive Bacchus at the opening of that organisation’s 8th Biennial General Assembly in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad.
Bacchus expressed grave concern about the deterioration of news and current affairs content and a greater preference for sports, entertainment. At a time when newsrooms are shrinking, Bacchus lambasted media houses for “stealing news and selling” other journalists’ news without attribution. “…a level of ‘thiefingness’ as we like to say in some parts of the Caribbean is being clothed in journalistic garment and people strutting about and saying ‘that’s my story’; no it’s not your story, you stole it and if we steal from each other how are we going to move forward,” said Bacchus, a Guyanese journalist and Manager of the privately-owned WINNFM radio station in St. Kitts.
The former ACM boss, who was replaced at elections by Wesley Gibbings, queried why businesses were keen on sponsoring sports and entertainment rather that news and current affairs including investigative reports.
Bacchus pointed out that journalists need to be paid for news reports rather than they being provided free of charge.
He highlighted the need for media houses across the Caribbean to collaborate more closely at a time when there was greater domination of the Caribbean by American media unlike the days of the now weakened Caribbean News Agency (CANA).
CANA was eventually replaced by the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC) but the financial woes have not eased.