PR – As media professionals in Grenada join their colleagues around the world in observing World Press Freedom Day 2021, it’s an opportune time for the Government of Grenada to reiterate its support for freedom of the press.
The theme chosen for this year’s observance, Information as a Public Good, illustrates the crucial role of the media in producing and sharing content that helps to strengthen and advance the democratic process.
The media, quite rightly, is regarded as the fourth pillar of democracy, given its critical role in sharing accurate information and educating the public on the various economic, political and social issues that affect us all. Fulfilling this critical role also comes with immense responsibility, because in reporting on the various issues, the media helps to shape public opinion and as such, this pervasive influence necessitates fairness, balance and objectivity.
I’d like to echo the sentiments of UNESCO’s Director General who noted that the theme recognises the “indisputable importance of verified and reliable information”. The Director General also noted that the theme “calls attention to the essential role of free and professional journalists in producing and disseminating this information, by tackling misinformation and other harmful content”.
When there is accuracy and balance in the news and other content that is shared for public consumption, the population is better positioned to make informed decisions. On the flip-side, where media reports lack objectivity or balance, this significantly increases the potential for public bias.
I hasten to add that Government is not without responsibility in respecting and protecting press freedom. We view this responsibility quite seriously and restate our full commitment to this. Government also stands by the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act, 2007, which serve to affirm its pledge to ensure full transparency and accountability in the democratic process.
I would also like to use the occasion of World Press Freedom Day to publicly invite media professionals to a meeting where we can have frank discussion on all matters pertaining to information gathering and sharing, the rights and responsibilities of both media and Government and to seek solutions to any challenges that exist. This I hope will become a regular, periodic engagement as we seek to collectively advance the development of our beloved country. The official invitation will be extended to you in due course.
In closing, I reaffirm Government’s commitment to freedom of the press and further, we empathise with the local media, given the challenges to their very survival that exist now, due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
I thank you.