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Former journalist calls for national media policy

Former journalist calls for national media policy

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A local communications expert says it is important for media practitioners to have experience and formal training and voiced support for the proposed national media policy.{{more}}

Hawkins Nanton, who was recently appointed an Inspector of Police after 16 years as a journalist, made the point last Thursday, as he spoke on “Youth in Media: The Facebook Generation” at the SVG National Youth Lecture Series 2012 in Kingstown.

“… Efforts must be made to ensure that they (youths) are versed in the best practices in the field, by ensuring that provisions are made for theoretical training,” said Nanton, a former assistant editor at SEARCHLIGHT, who has a Master’s degree in communications.

“We cannot get by … with only practical training. We need to have a marriage between theoretical and practical training, because that is the only way we will be versed in the best practices, so that we can develop our various needs,” he said to applause.

Nanton, however, said some persons who only have theoretical knowledge, do not function as they would if they had practical experience also.

Meanwhile, Nanton said media commissions internationally are designed “to set a general framework where the youth have been given certain provisions.

“… But I can’t really say that the media in St Vincent and the Grenadines have been fulfilling such tasks.

“When one surveys our media landscape, we cannot help but think that such notions in St Vincent and the Grenadines are utopian.”

He noted the talk show culture which is “centred on talk shows with a partisan following, where discussions contain issues which do have merit … but most times do not lead to overall national development.”

He said local media do not meet the expectation of the youth.

To attract the youth to the media, there must be innovating and refreshing programming from a platform of new technologies, Nanton said.

“That said, I believe there is a dire need for the state to have a national print and broadcast policy which leads the process in establishing a framework for the development of the media at a national level,” he further stated.

Media policies are “supposed to govern the media,” Nanton said.

“In a democracy, we have to be able to think critically and analyse for ourselves whether or not a particular policy is going to take away our freedom of speech.”

He said he does not think that freedom of speech would ever be denied here.

“… You take away their speech, Vincentians will get real mad.”

Asked if he thinks the Bureau of Standards — responsible for formulating a broadcast policy here — is the entity best suited to do so, Nanton said:

“… I would not be able to make such a determination.”

He, however, said the Bureau has experience in setting other standards.

“And as a result of that, they would be able to draw from that experience … and be able to lead and direct,” he said.

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