Outgoing MASL President cites self-censorship

The outgoing Media Association of Saint Lucia (MASL) President, Clinton Reynolds, has cited a level of self-censorship here by many Reporters and Editors.

In a report delivered to Sunday’s biennial meeting of the organization, the MASL President asserted that the self-censorship arises from the fear of backlash from tackling certain sensitive topics.

“The backlash includes a denial of access to officials and newsmakers who may feel they have been criticized unfairly; threats, or withdrawal of advertising from organizations that officials believe are critical of their performance,” Reynolds said.

The outgoing MASL President spoke of threats of lawsuits, many of which he said were frivolous, and the issuing of legal documents intended to intimidate and harass.

“Some media owners/managers also subjugate their news production to the considerations of advertisers to safeguard their revenue streams,” Reynolds stated.

He expressed the view that the level of media freedom here remains moderate.

According to Reynolds, members of the public still regard the work of the media as very important and necessary.

But he felt that the public believes that the media are not doing enough to hold authority figures accountable.

“Regardless of the obstacles, the public perceives the role of the media as getting through to politicians, the business community, the government, civil society and other organizations to ask the question they want answered,” Reynolds observed.

He told the MASL biennial meeting that generally, most people believe that the media can do a much better job.