Telling people you are going to Port of Spain can be confusing. No, I’m not headed to Spain, I’m going to Trinidad. The International Press Institute is holding its World Congress there beginning Sunday and I’ll be on a panel about Ethics and Social Media.
So, off to Port of Spain, Trinidad. I’m leaving a few days early to take advantage of a little sun and fun, and who wouldn’t? Over the next few days I’ll be blogging about the country and the conference.
Trinidad and its sister island, Tobago, is just north of the northern tip of South America in the North Atlantic Ocean. It’s closer to Venezuela than to Jamaica or even Puerto Rico, but it’s still considered part of the Caribbean. Its working press are members of the Association of Caribbean Media Workers.
It’s proximity to South America is important because certain South American countries are repressive in press freedom rights. Venezuela is ranked 117th of 179 countries on the press freedom index. Honduras, one of the worst countries for press freedom, is 136th.
By comparison, the United States is ranked 47th (dropping because of the Occupy protests). Finland is at the top of the list.
Wesley Gibbings, the president of the Caribbean Media Workers, said the World Congress will help the group shine a light on its work.
“Though we have generally escaped the worst impacts of impunity, violence and official aggression, Caribbean social communicators and journalists have not eluded the potentially muting impacts of self- censorship, unenlightened regulation and challenging economic, social and political circumstances. ”
The IPI has defended press freedom for more than 60 years. It holds a World Congress every year. Alison Bethel, executive director of the IPI, said in a statement: “The three-day IPI World Congress will examine the many challenges, concerns and opportunities facing the media not only in the Caribbean, but also in the rest of the Americas and around the globe.”
Come back for more reports from Trinidad and my travels there.
- Yvette Walker