Tuesday, 6 December 2016

BPC President in Brussels at the first ACP Press Clubs Federation Meeting

BPC President Anthony Newbold (right) and other members of the
ACP Press Clubs Federation
BRUSSELS, Belgium - Executives of the newly formed African Caribbean & Pacific (ACP) Press Clubs Federation took a conscious decision on Wednesday night (November 30, 2016) to encourage more involvement from journalists in member states, especially the Caribbean and Pacific, as it moves to establish an identity for the new organization.
Representing the Caribbean Region are The Bahamas Press Club President Anthony Newbold and Jewel Forde, Asst. Secretary General, Association of Caribbean Media Workers.
Meeting at ACP House on the Avenue Georges-Henri in Brussels for the first time since being appointed in Kigali in October, executives of the Federation pledged to do all within their power to ensure the presence of the ACP and the Federation in all member states is evident.
“The first recommendation to the president for action was my suggestion to mount a competition for the design of the Federation’s Logo,” says Bahamas Press Club President Anthony Newbold. “Graphic artists from news organization, who are hopefully members of the areas press clubs would be asked to submit samples for consideration.”
Leading the discussions was Mr. Albert Rudatsimburwa from Kigali, who represented ACPC Federation President Gaspard Safari who could not attend because of health reasons.
“It is important that we agree a vision for this organization,” he said. “Because we must move quickly to establish the ACP Press Clubs Federation as a vibrant and relevant force in our member states in raising the cause of press freedom.”
The vision for the ACP PCF as articulated by the executive council: “To strengthen and sustain media associations in ACP countries to be a catalyst for development, by bolstering transparency in public affairs, rising public awareness on important issues as well as facilitating open debate and the dynamic exchange of information and ideas.”
The ACP PCF will initially be directed from Brussels which will allow the Federation to lean on the support of the ACP Group Secretariat, which in the initial stages will provide the funding necessary for the operations of the organization.
ACP PCF Interim President, Gaspard Safari is expected to soon release the agenda for the next meeting of the Council which is scheduled for February 2017 in Kigali, Rwanda ahead of the World Congress of Press Clubs.
The ACP Press Clubs Federation was established at a special meeting in Kigali in October 2016, with the primary objective being “to foster dialogue, cooperation and an exchange of practical experience and ideas between ACP-PCF members.”
An interim Executive Council was appointed comprising 12 members, two from each region represented: West Africa, Central Africa, Southern Africa, Eastern Africa, the Pacific Islands and the Caribbean Region.

Monday, 21 November 2016





Always a pleasure to be in The Commonwealth of The Bahamas.

Your kind invitation gives me good reason to be here.

There was that time in life when we needed no excuse – invitation or no invitation. We came and did not always leave when expected.

Learn to say no – advice from a former Prime Ministerial colleague.
Those who believe you should be quick to say yes – and give thanks at every invitation to show you are still alive and have not been forgotten.
For an active politician, this could be like Daniel entering the Lion’s Den.
The prophet kept them at bay –
You will have to make a speech.

Delivering a speech at a banquet on the night of his arrival in a large city, a visiting minister told several anecdotes he intended to repeat at meetings the next day. Because he wanted to use the jokes again, he requested the reporters to omit them from any accounts they might turn in to their newspapers. A cub reporter, in commenting on the speech, ended his piece with the following: “The minister told a number of stories that cannot be published.”

Food was the earliest subject of communication between Homo Sapiens:

(i) Cave Paintings, which gave advice on plants, and animals that were safe for eating.

Other forms emerged soon after.
(ii) Then came Drumming: In African tradition, drumming has played an important role in every aspect of life. Today, African hand drums are still played to communicate, celebrate, mourn and inspire. They’re played in times of peace and war, planting and harvesting, birth and death.
(iii) Smoke signals were used by many cultures, including Native American to communicate over long distances.

(iv) In Medieval England, town cries were the chief means of news communication with the townspeople, where many of the folk were illiterate in a period before the moveable type was invented. Royal proclamations, local bylaws, market days; even selling loaves of bread were all proclaimed by a bellman or crier.

Centuries ago, Sophocles wrote: “No one loves the messenger who brings bad news”.

Shakespeare expressed this same sentiment in Anthony and Cleopatra. Cleopatra when told by a messenger that Anthony had married another, threatens to treat the messenger’s eyes as balls, eliciting the response “Gracious madam, I that bring the news made not the match.”

I am sure that many of you members of the media here have experienced equally aggressive responses when you are forced to report bad news or unfavourable stories.

But it is your job to give the news, good or bad and the right to receive as well as disseminate accurate and timely information. Freedom of expression is the cornerstone of your craft.

Those who write the headlines must master that peculiar skill which attract just attention – but they can often be misleading, confusing or pedantic.
1. Something Went Wrong in Jet Crash, Expert Says
2. Miners refuse to Work after Death
3. War Dims Hope for Peace
4. Red Tape holds Up New Bridges
5. Astronaut Takes Blame for Gas in Spacecraft
6. Kids Make Nutritious Snacks.

Before proceeding further, let me warmly congratulate the government and people of the Bahamas on your first-rate telecommunications infrastructure that makes up-to-date information accessible to your population across the archipelago.

The Bahamas has a proud record of press freedom and deserves our highest commendation in that regard.

Public discourse, vigorous and open discussion are essential to the preservation of your thriving democracy.

It is well established that the Press, the Fourth Estate, plays a unique role in the promotion of human rights, our fundamental freedoms and is essential to engender good governance, public accountability and transparency.

To perform this Task, it is entitled to ready access – not as a favour, but as a right. Without this, it is prone to leaks (often unreliable and self-centred) or speculation, which could prove harmful to the national interest. 

It is for this reason that my Administration enacted a new Freedom of Information Act, which spawned a new culture of openness. That represented a quantum leap from the notion of secrecy under which the Official Secrets Act engendered.

The great number and range of Bahamian media outlets that provide citizens with news, information and entertainment is truly impressive: The Nassau Guardian newspaper has been in existence since 1844, the Tribune, Freeport News, the Bahama Journal, the tabloid Punch, all contribute to your vibrant print media sector.
Many of your media entities have digital components where audiences access media content from anywhere in the world. In one form or another, Bahamian media, including digital media, reach all Bahamian households and engage with audiences across the globe with stories and messages that inform, educate and entertain.
This is an impressive achievement on which you must build in a global society that is increasingly knowledge-based.

But that’s not all. Some of the stories, written and produced by the persons whom you honour tonight have played a role in the final outputs which have helped to shape public discourse and managed to influence public policy and sound governance.
These accomplishments are necessary and important media requisites in an enduring democracy.

A significant number of citizens, especially our youth, are active social media participants who create, share and consume a wide array of information among themselves and across the entire world via the Internet.

Over 50% of the world’s population is less than 30 years old.
Almost all millennials have joined social networks. Online news sources, social networking websites, You Tube videos and blogs have joined television and other traditional media as the main sources of public information and are connecting citizens who share similar views. These citizens are influencing each other directly, bypassing traditional media and other intermediaries. More than half of mobile non-voice traffic in the Caribbean is for Facebook. Twitter now impacts all aspects of life including cultures and national elections.

Advancements in technology are expanding the reach and influence of traditional media among all audiences and increasing the power of social media. These have facilitated a move away from a world in which few institutions and individuals create media content to one in which everyone can produce content that influences and creates a stake in our culture and future.

But all social media or all media content are not equal. All attractively packaged and effectively distributed, shared information are not of equal value or equal worth.

Some are problematic and dangerous. As a result, some technological changes employed by social media, have major implications for the historical roles and responsibilities of traditional media.

The editor of a small weekly newspaper, in a rage over several government bills that had recently been passed, ran a scathing editorial under the headline: “HALF OF OUR LEGISLATORS ARE CROOKS.” Many prominent politicians were outraged, and tremendous pressure was exerted on him to retract the statement. He finally succumbed to the pressure and ran an apology with the headline: “HALF OF OUR LEGISLATORS ARE NOT CROOKS.”

A decade ago political candidates largely depended on traditional media to tell their stories, to sell their candidacies. This is no longer the case. Political candidates are exploiting New Media, which have rallied some of the largest populist movements the world has ever seen, including the so-called Arab Spring. In the world’s largest and most robust market of America, we witness a fundamental shift in content creation and media consumption.

Eight years ago Barack Obama’s ‘Yes We Can’ campaign used social media platforms to rapidly stimulate political activity and community activism. More recently, Donald Trump used social media to rally a populist movement that challenged established terms of political engagement and stoked controversy.

Technological Advancements Implications
New communications technologies empower individuals and groups to do democratic things. They provide platforms for the rapid distribution of material that can undermine democracy and yield problematic outcomes. They rapidly and frequently disseminate falsehoods, slander, intolerant views and hostile ideologies. Communities, nations and the world have become more connected yet more complicated, more social yet more individualistic.

While technology creates the vehicle through which people assemble ideas, the need remains for the audience to be engaged, to be influenced, to be persuaded, and convinced.

In this age when everyone with a computer can create and publish news stories, parade as journalists, you as professionals have to clearly demonstrate that you offer something of lasting value; something that differentiates your outputs from the false pretenders.

Rights and Responsibilities
(i) to identify what makes sense amidst an avalanche of information that absolutely makes no sense, making a distinction between what is important and what is trivial and superficial.
(ii) You have a compelling duty to ferret out and tell the truth and prove that to skeptical audiences.
(iii) To inform public debate so that citizens can make educated choices to help empower citizens to act in ways that serve the greatest good.
(iv) Journalists must observe the profession’s ethical mandates: respect privacy, embrace public accountability; give voice to the voiceless and protect the vulnerable.

Why should professional journalists take these ethical mandates seriously when others are not constrained by such old-fashioned notions?

In the highly competitive media industry, speed to publish and speed to hit the send button are often perceived as the only goals, so why concern oneself with other objectives that appear archaic?

Why bother to be accurate when sensationalism sells? When trivia trumps analysis and investigative stories prove more costly?

Being right and being credible to warrant trust are more important attributes than being first.

Amid the noise of information overload, the triple goals of credibility, accuracy, trustworthiness, still constitute the mandate for a free press in a democracy.

Professional journalistic courage and telling the truth as you celebrate this evening are values that have withstood the test of time.

The amount of time that young people now spend online consuming media and other content has increased substantially. Yet our young people need help in developing the requisite media literacy skills to analyze and understand the vast array of media messages and formats they consume from disparate sources.
Traditional media practitioners need to more effectively help develop the critical thinking and analytical skills that youth and other citizens need to successfully navigate media-soaked and social media-immersed environments.
Responsible media can help consumers discern fact from fiction; truth from falsehoods; valid arguments from those that are fundamentally flawed. Responsible media must help citizens develop the ability to bring critical thinking skills to bear on all media – from social media content to musical lyrics and videos.

In doing so traditional media would have helped our citizens to ask the right questions: From whose perspective is this story told? Whose voices are heard, and whose are excluded? What strategies does this message use to get attention and to influence? Whose interests are served by this story? And to persistently ask, why, why, why?

The original progenitors of the Bahamian Media and even some of the most senior among you would be bewildered by the face of the new media landscape.
But even in the light of the cataclysmic changes you can never relinquish the duties of the Fourth Estate to inform and educate.
While others pander to narrow interests and cater to personal tastes, yours must be that broader vision which reflects the panoramic view.

It must promote the national ethos and yet global in perspective.
The main issues may not be sexy – but they are of critical importance to the future of mankind.
- human conflicts and the spread of terrorism
- the reality and immense global warming – climate change which poses particular threat to The Bahamas.

- Our region is confronted with severe challenges
The imbalances, which are created in the name of globalization and consequences to countries, like The Bahamas with the imposition of rules and systems which would deny fair competition in niche areas of international financial transactions.
- How to fuel the spread of the creative industries within our regional space to encourage and expand our gifts of nature, the talents of our people in order to build the unique civilization.

In seeking to spread the gospel, do not sacrifice your integrity or compromise your standards.
Tonight, I urge you to insist on the training for those who seek to enter your noble profession so that the ethics are observed to permit the heightening of the consciousness and the expansion of the horizons for those who are called into your service.

This has truly been a delightful evening. The Bahamas Press Club deserves full praise for arranging an occasion where partners (not friends and foes) share the ambience we have so well enjoyed tonight.
All of us welcome and appreciate recognition – but none is more precious than that which is extended by our peers.

So tonight’s deserving Awardees will always treasure the special accolades they receive tonight. It should propel them, as responsible Journalists, to even higher levels of excellence while together we continue the onward march on the journey to peace, freedom, justice and prosperity for the people we serve.

Sunday, 20 November 2016

Bahamas Press Club Holds Black Tie Awards Event Honouring Best in Media

Bahamas Press Club Holds Black Tie Awards Event Honouring Best in Media

NASSAU, The Bahamas - The best in Bahamian media were awarded during The Bahamas Press Club Second Annual Media Awards held at the British Colonial Hilton on Saturday, November 20, 2016.
It was held under the distinguished Patronage of Her Excellency Dame Marguerite Pindling, Governor General of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas.
The Black Tie event was held in the Governor’s Ballroom, at which The Most Honourable P J Patterson, former Prime Minister of Jamaica delivered the Keynote Address.
Mr. Patterson addressed “A Responsible Press” and noted the hallmarks of journalism including ethics, accountability, integrity and not only getting the news first, but getting it right.
He also congratulated The Bahamas Press Club for organizing such an event honouring media professionals in the country.
Also in attendance was the Hon Fred Mitchell, Minister of Foreign Affairs who introduced keynote speaker Patterson.
President of The Bahamas Press Club Anthony Newbold congratulated the winners for their hard work and also encouraged other members of the media, in the country, to “get involved” in building the organization.
Nine awards were handed out during the ceremony hosted by journalist, lawyer and talk show host Jeffrey Lloyd.
The Etienne Dupuch Lifetime Achievement Award went to His Excellency Calsey Johnson, Bahamas High Commissioner to Canada; former broadcast journalist, the Broadcasting Corporation of the Bahamas (ZNS).
Also receiving awards were:
• The Leon Turnquest Award for Sports Print Journalism – Nassau Guardian Sports Editor, Sheldon Longley for his story:” Dive For Gold" - The Shaunae Miller Olympic Gold Medal Win in the Women’s 400m.
• Website of the Year - Tribune242.com
• The Kenneth Nathaniel Francis Award for Newspaper Design and Composition - The Tribune: "Diving For Gold"
• The Leslie Higgs Feature Writer of the Year Award – Journalist/writer Tosheena Robinson-Blair "The Life and Times of a Master Hotelier".
• The Award for Best Television News Story –News Reporter, Clint Watson "Life Lost During Storm" – Hurricane Matthew
• The Bursell Bradshaw Press Photograph of the Year Award - Photographer, Ahvia Campbell, photojournalist, The Nassau Guardian "After The Storm" – Hurricane Matthew
• The Best television Documentary – Karissma Robinson & Andrew Burrows, ZNS - "The Underneath: Transgenders in The Bahamas".
• The Cyril Stevenson Award for Outstanding Political Journalism- Lamech Johnson, Reporter, The Tribune – “$150,000 fine for Jerome Fitzgerald in Save The Bays email row”.

Saturday, 19 November 2016


NOVEMBER 19, 2016
The Bahamas Press Club President Anthony Newbold
President Antony Newbold calls for media professionals to get involved in The Bahamas Press Club.

Here is his speech delivered at The Media Awards Banquet held Saturday, November 19, 2016 at the British Colonial Hilton:
The Hon Fred Mitchell, Minister of Foreign Affairs, The Most Hon P J Patterson, Nominees, Invited Guests,Good evening!
Again and welcome to the first of what will be an annual recognition and celebration of you who report and produce the news. Thank you all for coming.
My congratulations to all Nominees, especially the Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient, His Excellency Calsey Johnson.
You make us all proud!
Unfortunately there are some awards that will not be presented this year because we had no nominees. The Harcourt Rusty Bethel Award for Broadcast Journalism or The P Anthony White Award for Best Columnist for example.
There will also not be an award for Best Talk Show as the system did not work as we intended and so hopefully next year we get to present those awards and others that we will add.
The technical ones, for example, that the technical people have complained to me about, even though I have yet to see one cameraman or editor at a Bahamas Press Club Meeting. Go figure.
There was a Bahamian superstar entertainer from The Valley. People knew him as "Dr. Off". His name was Tyrone Fitzgerald & he had several hit songs, one of them was titled, “Get Involved”.
That is my theme for tonight.
Let me say to you members of the media tonight, we’ve truly only just begun. And as is the case in most beginnings, not as many of you participate, as you should in the business of The Bahamas Press Club. But there is room and desire for all of you to participate.
You’ve got to get involved! You can first begin by telling me what you would like to see from The Press Club. What it is that would cause you to be active. Early in the New Year, I will take some of my executives to Grand Bahama to find out how they would like to participate.
Last month, during my visit to Africa at the invitation of the African, Caribbean & Pacific Group of States, Kigali, Rwanda to be more specific, the ACP Federation of Press Clubs was formed to create a network across the three regions, and they were so excited to hear about the activities of The Bahamas Press Club. You should be too! And when I go to Brussels for the first executive council meeting (your president was the first person nominated for the 12 member executive council), they will be more excited when I report on tonight’s activities.
Yes, fellow journalists, The Bahamas Press Club is branching out to the world, and we want to take you with us. But you’ve got to get involved!
Speaking of involvement, I’ve been most pleased to see Crystal Darling and Don Sargent from the University of The Bahamas. Yes, we want them as young as they are because my team, and me we are part of the old guard, and while I enjoy this as much as the next fellow, I am only leading the way. I have no intention or desire to stay as president of the Bahamas Press Club for life!
Listen, as your leader, I am known across The Bahamas, in New York and California. In China and in Africa. In the Caribbean and in the Pacific. I want you all to be too. And I’m not just talking about a byline. I want you all to be in a position where you pick up the telephone and speak with someone you really know. But you gotta get involved!
I know that everyone wants to know what is in it for him or her? Well, after my trip to Africa, I received an email from Ernest Sagaga, head of Human Rights and Safety for the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) One of the issues raised was the plight of some journalists after they retire.
Too many of us fall on hard times. Well Ernest said to me, listen, IFJ has a safety fund. So if you know of a journalist who needs help with medical costs, legal costs, family support or educating their children, let me know and we will provide some help. That is what is potentially there for you. But you’ve got to get involved.
Another issue raised was funding and where do we get it. Some countries said they get funding from their government. Here, we would think that is heresy. No, they received funding with the understanding that it was all part of contributing to the common good and that the government should not expect any special treatment.
I say you will get objective treatment from a well-trained and duly qualified press corps. That is what you will get if you give us your support! By the way, Prime Minister, I want the old Gaming Board Building on Goodman’s Bay for the Press Club.
We will clean up the mold and do whatever is required to get it in a condition to be occupied, for a nominal fee of $10. Think about it.
Why is this night important? We must recognize good work, especially the work of journalists. Recognizing journalists for their work is not high on anyone’s list of priorities. Maybe after we die.
Well, The Press Club decided to change that and we are doing so tonight. Just beginning, but we are making a start! Speaking of good journalists, we’ve just lost a good one. Gwen Ifill of PBS. You can’t say enough about her! One of the most respected Black journalists in America. Here at home we lost Antoine Ferrier. A gentleman and a professional! Lets observe a minute of silence in their memory please! May they both Rest In Peace.
So lets recognize another good journalist. Deandre Williamson; the newest member of The Bahamas Press Club. Deandre won the Walter Cronkite Bust, first place finisher in the conference paper competition at the 3rd Annual Walter Cronkite Conference on Media Ethics and Integrity held recently in Missouri. Take a bow Deandre. First international winner and first person of color.
So those of us who bring credit to our profession must be recognized, because there are still too many whose actions, speaking of ethics and integrity, in fact, whose very presence in our profession, hold us up to ridicule, public odium and disrepute.
We know them. Their names are associated more with their nefarious undertakings than with good journalism, and we won’t give them the privilege of further sullying our time-honored profession tonight, by calling their names.
When we speak about credit to our profession, let me recognize my core team of executives whose efforts cannot be overstated and I cannot praise them enough. Lindsay Thompson, Vincent Vaughan, Anthony Capron, and other team members, Kermit Taylor, Charles Sawyer, Franklyn Ferguson, Rogan Smith and Ed fields. Couldn’t do it without them!
Mr. Capron co-coordinated the gorgeous souvenir magazine you see before you. For our advertisers and you who wonder about the reach of The Bahamas Press Club, last year’s booklet is in Rwanda, it is in Sierra Leone, it is in Brussels and in Poland.
The sky is truly the limit if you would only get involved. Let me apologize for Prime Minister Christie who could not be here. He has had a hectic schedule over the past two days. (Former) Prime Minister Patterson, thank you from the bottom of my heart from agreeing to speak to us tonight. We truly appreciate it.
Thanks to our MC, Jeffrey Lloyd, who was chosen before he was nominated!
A special thank you to Cable 12 for taking the lead in recording this for broadcast. That is the kind of partnership we need from our broadcast colleagues. I want to pay special tribute to Alexia Coakley who led this effort. Much appreciation!
Enjoy yourselves and congratulations to all of you who, and specifically the winners in this our first effort to give you your roses.

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Bahamas Press Club Member Deandre Williamson Awarded Walter Cronkite Bust

Bahamian journalist and  BPC member Deandre Williamson
was awarded a Walter Cronkite Bust.
NASSAU, The Bahamas - The Bahamas Press Club 2014 congratulates its member Deandre Williamson upon receiving the prestigious Walter Cronkite Bust for a First Place Finish in the conference paper competition.

Ms Williamson, an editor /journalist, was also invited to address the 3rd Annual Walter Cronkite Conference on Media Ethics and Integrity, held at the Missouri Western State University, November 3 to 5, 2016. She returned home November 9.

She also became the first international journalist to be awarded the Walter Cronkite Bust for coming first in the conference paper competition.

President of The Bahamas Press Club Anthony Newbold had this to say about such an outstanding achievement.

“Deandre has proven once again that Bahamians can compete at the highest levels in the world in any discipline and we are happy that she is a member of our profession. The Press Club is especially pleased that she chose to address the topic of media ethics and integrity, because they are both areas we feel strongly should be the north star for all of us as practicing journalists.”

The Walter Cronkite Conference on Media Ethics and Integrity is noted as both a celebration of the legacy of Walter Cronkite and a discussion of the future of journalism. The conference is two days of intimate sessions featuring journalism professionals and students who will discuss how ethics have affected their practices.

Ms Williamson a presented on the topic 'Ethical Challenges in Bahamian Journalism: The Case for a Code of Ethics.'

“This is a research study I did for my master's thesis as a student at Point Park University. I'm proud of my work in journalism research, which took me two years to complete,” she says.

The study explores the ethical challenges of Bahamian journalists and presents the case for a code of ethics. The findings for the study were taken from a survey among professional Bahamian journalists and a series of in-depth interviews among veteran Bahamian journalists. The study also presents a series of real-life case studies demonstrating the ethical dilemmas of Bahamian journalists.

“This study is significant to the field of media ethics because it suggest ways to improve media ethics in The Bahamas, which includes drafting a nation-specific code of ethics. This study is also worthwhile and significant to the development of journalism in The Bahamas,” Ms Williamson says.

Ms Williamson found out about the conference through her professor at Point Park University, Dr. Timothy Hudson. He also served as her thesis chair.

She said she was excited to have been chosen to present at the international conference.

After the conference, Ms Williamson visited KQTV, a local television station in Missouri. While there, she shadowed KQTV's reporters and assisted with their coverage of the United States Presidential Election.

Ms Williamson is a former editor and reporter at The Bahama Journal. She received her Master’s Degree from Point Park University in Pittsburgh, PA in 2014; and a Bachelor’s Degree from Georgia State University, Atlanta in 2009. Ms Williamson received her Associates Degree from the then College of the Bahamas in 2007 (Now University of The Bahamas).

She was a Student Speaker at Point Park at the Graduate Hooding Ceremony in 2014. She also received Academic Excellence Award in Journalism and Mass Communication at Point Part in 2014.

Ms Williamson interned at KDKA-TV, Pittsburgh and at CNN Headline News in Atlanta.

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

BPC President appointed to the Executive Council of ACP Press Clubs Federation

Anthony Newbold, Bahamas Press Club President
KIGALI, Rwanda - Anthony Newbold, President of The Bahamas Press Club 2014, has been appointed to the Executive Council of the newly formed African Caribbean & Pacific (APC)- Press Clubs Federation at the founding Congress convened in the Ubumwe Grande Hotel, Kigali, Rwanda on October 20 to 21, 2016.
“It was an amazing and priceless experience,” said Mr. Newbold. “The opportunity to network with fellow journalists from the African continent and the Pacific Islands, as well as establish the name of The Bahamas and The Bahamas Press Club in a world class setting cannot be overstated. There is no limit to the potential benefits from this association!”
Addressing the assembly, Mr. Newbold noted the young and robust press corps in The Bahamas and their efforts to continually deliver on their mandate to inform and educate the public by holding the government to account for its actions, publicizing issues that need attention, educating the public and bringing people together.
At that General Assembly, a charter was adopted for the formation of the Federation as an umbrella organization, to build a platform for ACP press clubs, international press centres and press associations to exchange useful information, collaborate on joint projects, share expertise and build an international platform for communication initiatives.
The 12 member Executive Council is comprised of press club heads from six regions: West Africa, Eastern Africa, Southern Africa, Central Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific Islands and is headed by Mr. Gaspard Safari, President of the Kigali Press Foundation.
The Council will support the work of the General Assembly and monitor the implementation of decisions taken by the General Assembly.
Mr. Newbold is joined on the Executive Council by Ms. Jewel Forde, President of Barbados Association of Journalists.
The Federation is expected to serve as a platform to not only raise awareness of ACP issues, but also to enhance the visibility of the ACP Group of countries.
The first official meeting of the council is expected to take place at the end of February in Kigali, when more concrete plans will be discussed and agreed to be pursued, leading up to the first official General Assembly of the Federation in late 2018.
Recognizing the need to establish a network
of media associations across the member states, the ACP Secretariat signed an MOU with the European Press Clubs Federation in September 2013, chaired at
the time by Belgium (Brussels EU Press Club), to explore the establishment of a federation of ACP Press Clubs.
Efforts under this partnership resulted in the European Commission funding the first regional congress of ACP Press Clubs in Cotonou, Benin in July 2014, attended by the ACP Secretary General and opened by Benin’s Minister of Information and Communication.
Since 2015, the Brussels EU Press Club and the ACP Secretariat have continued to work closely to advance this project. The Brussels EU Press Club is currently in discussions with relevant officials on the anticipated bid by Rwanda to host the General Assembly of the International Association of Press clubs in 2017, which will be the first for the African continent and the ACP as a whole.