On the heels of the Digital Broadcasting Switchover forum, the opening ceremony for the 43rd annual Caribbean Broadcasting Union (CBU) assembly was held at the Royal Antiguan Resort on Tuesday.
Prime Minister Dr. Hon. Baldwin Spencer said the two events have set the tone, and put in context the issues that are critical to the continued growth and development of the media in the Caribbean. For More Photos Click Here.
“The advent of new and innovative information sharing technologies has broadened the scope and capacity of the media to disseminate information to larger audiences in real time format. This has also allowed for improve quality in printing, media broadcasting and internet connectivity. In this regard the media role in shaping how we think and function in society is relevant now more than ever as we strive as governments to maintain good democratic practices in our societies.” Prime Minister Spencer said.
The countries leader added access to information is essential to fostering good democratic practices to society.
He stressed the media plays an important and critical role in shaping society. Spencer added that in this context the goal of media development generally should be to move the media from one that is directed or even overtly controlled by government or private interest, to one that is more open and has a degree of editorial independence that serves the public interest.
The Prime Minister also pointed out that the emergence of New Media technologies, new information and communication technologies, ICT’s and access to broadband and connectivity has enhanced media for development activities globally.
President of the Caribbean Broadcasting Union (CBU) Vic Fernandes said the assembly meets at a time when there is little positive news for the broadcast industry.
“…there is little or no growth on the top line leading to severe strains on the bottom line, staff layoffs and cutbacks in vital areas where we need to invest. The proliferation of licenses has not helped, either impacting negatively on the quality of broadcasting.” Fernandes said.
Fernandes said sadly at a time when the CBU is talking about High Definition (HD) many in the industry are still languishing in the analog era. He noted failure to embrace social media as a critical and key component of an electronic media strategy will be a monumental mistake.
"We should not see new media as the enemy but as an opportunity for us to grow and to expand our industry, to reach audiences yet untold and to make relevant restrictive licensing regimes. Today’s local broadcaster can be tomorrow’s world broadcaster.” Fernandes said.
He said it is possible for traditional on-air and online presence to have a harmonious relationship.