Regional journalists meeting on disaster coverage

More than 40 journalists and representatives of regional and international organisations will meet in Barbados on March 2 and 3 when the Association of Caribbean MediaWorkers (ACM) hosts a Disaster Reporting Symposium in the wake of last year’s devastating hurricane season.

In addition to representatives of the ACM’s 14 national associations and focal points and other journalists, the symposium will include resource personnel from the Caribbean Disaster and Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA), CARICOM Secretariat, CARICOM Climate Change Centre (CCCCC), Regional Security System (RSS) and the Public Media Alliance (UK).

An ACM release stated that the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), UN Information Centre for the Caribbean (UNIC), Caribbean Broadcasting Union (CBU), Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC) and Latin American and Caribbean Alliance of the International Freedom of Expression Exchange (IFEX) will also be represented.

The event is being supported through an IFEX grant and will focus on media involvement in management and coordination issues through all phases of both natural and man-made disasters.

ACM president Wesley Gibbings is reported as saying that one of the highlights of the symposium will be “the development of protocols to identify the rules of engagement between journalists and disaster response agencies and personnel.”

This, he added, was “important to ensure that an efficient and reliable stream of news and information reaches affected populations and interests beyond that might be in a position to render assistance in saving lives and preserving existing public infrastructure.”

(More in today’s Daily Observer)