Odlum, Wayne, praised as journalism giants

The late George Odlum and Rick Wayne have been hailed by Human Rights Activist, Mary Francis, as two giants of journalism in Saint Lucia.

“Overall they played a remarkable role in bringing certain issues to light,” Francis told the Times.

She asserted that both men must be recognized in any discussion relating to World Press Freedom Day, although not everyone likes them.

Francis included Odlum and Wayne in a list of local journalists whom she said had played a role in championing press freedom and keeping the struggle for democracy alive.

Tuesday May 3, 2016 was observed as World Press Freedom Day.

Saint Lucia emerged at the top of the rankings in terms of press freedom in the Americas, according to a report issued by the United States-based group, Freedom House.

Of 199 countries surveyed, Saint Lucia achieved a global rank of 11.

“We are not doing too badly,” Mary Francis said of the ranking, while admitting that it had caught her by surprise.

But she warned that journalists must keep their eyes open and be vigilant.

The Attorney at Law said that the media must ensure that the political directorate does not encroach on freedom of the press and the role the media must play in democracy.

Francis asserted that without the media, she would have been unable to play the role she has in terms of human rights over the years.

“The media have been crucial in assisting me in bringing out issues, especially when it comes to policing,” the outspoken Human Rights Activist observed.

She noted that generally there is a fear of victimization in this country.

As a result Francis told the Times that there was need to stand up for the principles of press freedom and a stable democracy.

“Without the media we would be a dead society,” she declared.

However Francis felt that the media should be doing a lot more to highlight the role of freedom of the press as an important ingredient of democracy.

She expressed the view that the media are not doing enough to promote themselves and the role that they play.

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