ATTENDEES at the Bahamas Press Club event to mark World Press Freedom Day.
THE Bahamas Press Club 2014 recently held an event to mark World Press Freedom Day.
Under the theme, “Journalism Under Surveillance”, the forum - hosted in conjunction with the US Embassy, it focused on the digital era’s impact on freedom of expression, the safety of journalists, and access to information and privacy.
It was held in the American Corner of the Harry C Moore Library at the University of The Bahamas on Tuesday last week.
Club president Anthony Capron welcomed guests, saying: “Unquestionably, freedom of the press and expression are fundamental human rights. Consequently, free media is necessary for the development and growth of democracy.
“The press in The Bahamas, as in many countries, is often criticised for their news reports. The degree to which criticism comes across depends on which political party occupies the seat of government. So, categorically stating that the press in The Bahamas is free would in some estimations be untrue.”
The event’s guest speaker, executive director of the Organization for Responsible Governance (ORG) Matt Aubry, referenced the Freedom of Information Act as a marker for where the country is headed.
He said: “Sometimes as we look at long-term efforts, it is also important to note progress that has been made. This year, ORG was very proud to work with the Freedom of Information commissioner and his team to launch a series of FOIA town halls and there was a commitment that freedom of information would be rolled out in ten agencies.”
Media partners British High Commissioner Sarah Dickson, American representatives and local media professionals Shenique Miller, Khrisna Russell and Gerrino Saunders shared messages on the importance of press and the changing culture. During an open mic session, veteran journalists Tanya Smith- Cartwright and Debbie Bartlett gave their take on the global theme and their experience with media surveillance.
US Embassy public affairs officer Daniel Durazo thanked the Press Club for existing and for bringing members of the press in The Bahamas together to have this discussion, which “helps to ferment partnership and camaraderie amongst Bahamian journalists”.
“Creating organisations like this one that help bring media organisations together is more important than ever,” Durazo said. For more details about the club, visit it on Facebook or at www. bahamaspressclub.org.