PJD2’s Steven Cyrillien (Right) is seen posing a question to Minister of Public Health, Social Development and Labor Omar Ottley during a recent Council of Ministers press briefing at the Government Administration building.
PHILIPSBURG--The Association of Caribbean Media Workers (ACM) on Wednesday called on the authorities of St. Maarten, specifically the Department of Communication DComm of the Ministry of General Affairs, to promptly withdraw its proposed Media Accreditation Policy notice, which was issued on April 12.
ACM President Nazima Raghubir said in a press statement that the measures announced in the policy are in direct contradiction with basic principles attached to observance of press freedom, including unfettered access by the media and, by extension, all residents and citizens, to public information.
The policy in its stated intent, its accompanying Code of Conduct and the sanctions outlined, clearly erect obstacles to efficient media coverage of official events and can have a chilling effect on freedom of the press, the ACM president stated.
“There are provisions of the policy that permit discriminatory acts against targeted individuals and enterprises and impose conditions that may constitute a restraint of trade against media houses and restrictions on the free conduct of journalism by selected media professionals.”
“Application of the policy is also subject to assessments of the quality of journalistic practice by a state authority, in the process of imposing limitations against outputs not deemed to be in line with amorphous editorial guidelines.”
“We recommend the wholesale withdrawal of the policy and the design of appropriate media protocols executed by the Department of Information, in consultation with the local media community, and applied exclusively to Press Briefings of the Council of Ministers,” said Raghubir.