Bishop Speech - First Conference of Journalists from the Caribbean Area, St. George's, the National Conference Center, 17 April 1982


For us in Grenada to host this conference is both an honour and something of a strange experience.

An honour, in that to have so many fine professionals and honest men and women among us is always a heartening and strengthening stimulus, but strange for us in that we have, since our grasp of freedom in March, 1979, been on the receiving end of so much vile and false journalism, so many lies and slanders, such profound hostility from the media barons of the hemisphere.

So for us there is a kind of irony in your presence, for you represent the opposite of that brand of mercenary and bought-out mafia journalism.

You represent hope and integrity to us, an alternative kind of journalism and the professional courage to stand up to lies and disinformation.

We salute you and embrace you as comrades in truth, for just as truth is your tool, your trademark – so it is the vital essence and integral ingredient that is contained in all the organs and aspects of the Grenada Revolution.

In coming to Grenada and attending this conference you are demonstrating your willingness to stand up with us against falsehood, and for that alone we thank you on behalf of our revolution and our people, from the depths of our hearts.

We are particularly impressed by the level of unity achieved by the conference organisers and sponsors.

We see here the combined strength and wealth of experience of the International Organisation of Journalists [IOJ], the Federation of Latin American Journalists, the Press Association of Jamaica, our own Media Workers’ Association of Free Grenada [MWFG] and of dozens of individual, but as yet formally unorganized, journalists from throughout the region.

If ever any of our people grew in the slightest way despondent throughout the three years of organised and co-ordinated media-assault that has continually bludgeoned us, this conference and its participants will certainly go a long way towards dispelling any such feelings.

We welcome you here in the spirit of co-professionalism, recognising that each of you have a dynamic, original and significant contribution to bring to this conference which we see as a crucible for democratic journalism in our region.

We are not conscious of any aristocracy among you, any media-peerage, and that again fills us with hope and encouragement, for we have often been the butt of the flows from some of the most powerful vested interests and press magnates of the region, and indeed, the world.

What you incontrovertibly demonstrate to us is the other side of journalism, the part that has been prepared to treat us with fairness, equity and an open mind, to come and share our process, talk to our people and see for yourselves.

You have, in short, shown us the democratic tradition of journalism in the Caribbean, the tradition we must fight to strengthen and extend.


Comrades, the widespread and relatively successful campaigns of negative propaganda carried out by the Caribbean and North American media against Nicaragua, Cuba and Grenada, the freedom fighters of El Salvador and all other progressive and peace-loving forces o four region are facilitated by the unjust, irrational and undemocratic nature of the present world information order.

An examination of the current situation in the field of international information and communication reveals a number of glaring imbalances.

Firstly, there are considerable disparities in the world-wide distribution of the media.

Wilst, for example, in Europe and the U.S.A., for every 1,000 inhabitants there are 312 daily newspapers and 696 radio and 301 television receivers, in the developing countries of the same number of inhabitants there are merely 29 daily papers and 83 radio and 22 television receivers.

This massive difference is in the first instance a result of colonial dependence, for the former colonial rulers did nothing to develop a national information system in the regions they exploited.

Secondly, this backwardness in the field of information is a fundamental reason for the fact that the international exchange of information is only a one-way process.

Basically, a veritable flood of information flows through the major imperialist cities to all corners of the globe, whereas there is a mere trickle in the opposite direction.

Today, the imperialist media businesses, to all  intents and purposes, still control and regulate the flow of information from, to and between the developing countries.

The four major capitalist news agencies, U.P.I. [United Press International], A.P. [Associated Press], A.F.P. [Agence France-Presse] and Reuters have an output of 33 million words daily.

The ten largest Western foreign broadcasting services are on the air 5,200 hours per week, i.e. an average of 750 hours daily, and an increasingly large proportion of this is in the national and tribal languages of the developing countries.

The big U.S. television companies control more than three quarters of the international television market.

Thirdly, this “cultural imperialism” is not merely a formal problem but also in essence a question of content.

For ultimately it is not a question of how much information is broadcast through how many channels from where and from whom, but rather what information and with what objectives, is broadcast over national frontiers.


In view of the wide-ranging problems associated with the transboundary role of the media, it is understandable that for a considerable time now, questions of information and communication have been the subject of increasingly intense international discussion.

A growing number of countries, including Grenada, are asserting loudly and clearly that the time is now ripe to democratise the international information system and to free it from the vestiges of colonial rule.

Such countries are also asserting that it is imperative to eliminate psychological warfare and cultural neo-colonialism from intercourse between states and peoples.

These universal democratic and anti-imperialist objective have been reflected in the demand for the establishment of a new world information order (N.W. I.O.), which has been posed by the socialist and the developing countries in UNESCO and the U.N. since the middle of the seventies.

What are the aims behind the setting up of a new world information order?

Firstly, the most important task consists in guaranteeing that in the ideological struggles of our age the mass media make an active contribution to the maintenance and consolidation of Peace, to disarmament and détente, international understanding and the resolving of the global problems of humanity.

An essential condition here is that the international exchange of information is arranged in line with the principles of international law as anchored in the UN Charter, and that in particular principles such as equal sovereignty and non-interference apply fully to international information and communication.

A further aim in setting up a new world information order consists in organising a more balanced, comprehensive and freer exchange of information on a democratic foundation, an exchange which is free of the various forms of psychological warfare and cultural interference in the affairs of other states and peoples.

For this, it is necessary to curb the influence on those section so the media which even today continue to abuse freedoms in the international dissemination of information, and for the voices of democratic and progressive forces campaigning for peace and social progress to attain increasing prominence.

This entails, in turn, building up the information capacity of the progressively-oriented developing countries which at the moment cannot participate sufficiently in the international exchange of information.


However, in order for these objectives to be attained, it is necessary that all participants in the international exchange of information act in accordance with the universally accepted principles and mores of international conduct and relations.

One of the resolutions adopted at the 21st UNESCO General Conference held in Belgrade in 1980 expressly states that the basic principles laid down in the UN Charter – namely, (ban on use of force, equal sovereignty, non-interference, self-determination, peaceful settlement of disputes, co-operation, fidelity to treaties), must form the basis of the new world information order.

These principles form the general framework for the international activities of the media.

They represent the yardstick for the policy of states in the information field in line with international law and form a starting point for the concrete proves of drawing up specific norms for the international exchange of information, a process embarked upon with the adoption of UNESCO’s 1978 declaration on the media.

They must be sown within the framework of the aims and principles of the UN Charter in their totality and indivisible unity, and taking into account the political, economic and social conditions existing in any particular society.

Thus, in the case of the new world information order, it is not only the right to freedom of expression paid down in Article 19 of the 1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights that is relevant.

Equally important are such rights as the right to education, cultural activity or participation in public affairs.

Guaranteeing the freedom of the press is of absolutely no use for instance to an illiterate whose society denies him the right to education.

Furthermore, the right to freedom of expression is inseparably bound up with duties and corresponding responsibilities.

Thus, today one of the moral obligations of a state is to prevent war-mongering propaganda in the same say that the responsibilities of journalists include writing for the cause of peace and showing an active commitment to the ending of the arms race and a switch to disarmament.

Numerous international bodies have repeatedly condemned propaganda advocating the use of force and war, racism, apartheid, colonialism, neo-colonialism and other branches of international law.

For example, according to Article 4 of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination of 1965 and in line with Article 20 of the 1966 International Convention on Civil and Political Rights, states are obliged to forbid by law appeals to war and racialist propaganda.

So too, we would argue that deliberately false reports, slanders, smear campaigns, hostile tendentiousness and subversive campaigns which undermine international security and are aimed against good-neighbourly relations between states, must also be regarded as contravening principles of international law.

Preserving sovereignty over national information is a situation where international information and communication are constantly growing in volume is one of the central issues in the establishing of a new world information order.

From the principle of equal sovereignty the following rights accrue to individual states:

to set up, develop and organise their own independent information systems tailored to national aims and interests;

to map out their own national information policy, to lay down priorities and to create a corresponding legal framework;

to utilise the media as an instrument of national development, to help the formation, preservation and consolidation of a cultural identity and the education process, as well as to represent, free of discrimination, their legitimate interests and their outlooks, aims and values in the international arena;

within the framework of their legal system, to forbid the dissemination of information which represents a threat to international security and jeopardizes their national sovereignty their economic stability or their cultural identity.

These rights derive from the right of peoples to self-determination.

In the view of the fact that many developing countries still do not possess an adequate information system, the UN and UNESCO have repeatedly pointed to the urgency of setting up such systems.

The UNESCO International Commission for the Study of Communications Problems (MacBride Commission) similarly attaches major priority to the solving of this problem.

The obligation to respect the sovereign rights of states in the field of information is a principle aimed in the first instance at excluding the use of the media to interfere in the affairs of other states and peoples.

In any event, in line with international law, states are bound to refrain from every kind of interference and to outlaw every form of subversive activity emanating from their territory.

This is expressly state, for example, in the Declaration on the Inadmissibility of Intervention and Interference in the Internal Affairs of States adopted by an overwhelming majority on 3 December 1981 during the 36th session of the UN General Assembly.

This declares that states have the right and duty

to combat, within their constitutional prerogatives, the dissemination of false or distorted new which can be interpreted as interference in the internal affairs of other states or as being harmful to the promotion of peace, co-operation and friendly relations among states and nations.

It is extremely important, for example, to ensure through preemptive legal provisions, that the introduction of direct satellite television, envisaged by experts in the second half of the eighties, is prevented from becoming a source of international disputes merely because a few states choose to ignore generally binding norms.

In this regard, the UN Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space has been working on an appropriate convention for the past ten years, the adoption of which has so far been blocked by the U.S.

Comrades, having laid out the principles upon which this new world information order is premised, we must ask what are the practical means for setting up the new order?


We want to suggest that today there are three principal tasks which are closely related to each other:

Firstly, all democratic, peace-loving and progressive forces in the information field must be mobilised for peace and disarmament.

This is no longer just a statistical necessity; it has now assumed the character of a universal commandment and a moral imperative, given the real threat to peace and the looming possibility of a final way that now faces all of humanity.

Secondly, the principles of a new world information order must be implemented.

Thirdly, increased support in the field of information must be extended to the developing countries.

UNESCO has played a particularly prominent role in this proves over the last few years.

The 1978 declaration on the media, the 1979 report of the MacBride Commission, and the foundation of the IPDC [International Programme for the Development of Communications] in 1980 have not only created a world-wide awareness of the issues involved, but also represent milestones in the eventual establishing of a new world information order.

These events have provided a major impulse.

Thus, in 1983, to mark the fifth anniversary of the media declaration, a world congress is to take place to analyse the implementing of this document and Grenada intends to make a contribution to this congress.

Comrades, the struggle for a new world information order spearheaded by the world’s democratic forces and stoutly resisted by the transnational media monopolists and mafia in the West must be seen within the context of the developing international class struggle which has gathered momentum in recent times with the successes of, in particular, the anti-colonialist and national liberation forces in the Third World.


This information battle has been characterised by three consecutive phases on a world scale although in the Caribbean region elements of all three are taking place simultaneously.

In the beginning, imperialism attempted to shake the anti-imperialist orientation of public opinion in the independent and liberated former colonies by utilising its own media to penetrate the national information arenas of those countries.

However, those direct “experts” of cultural and informational imperialism did not bring the desired results in several of the newly liberated territories.

So, imperialism then tries to erect all sorts of obstacles to the creation of the independent national press, radio and television of the young states.

However, material assistance from the developed progressive forces made it possible to push ahead in this area although much progress in developing media infrastructure in the Third World is still to come.

The third phase – the most dangerous, sophisticated and subtle phase as then introduced to bolster the first two phases, under which the Western press monopolies have set about attempting to control the information services of the Third World from within themselves, occupying key positions or through influencing key but unpatriotic, reactionary and self-seeking nationals in management and editorial decision-making positions to disseminate great quantities of their biased and distorted news, or through bribing and/or manipulating journalists and their professional organisations and even through creating phantom organisations of journalists.


Thus, it is necessary for the world’s democratic movement of journalists to organise a broad programme of multilateral assistance and cooperation to journalist colleagues in the young states and to their journalists’ association in order that they may confront the assault of the imperialist press mafia and more rapidly create and strengthen national information media serving the cause of independence and progress.

This assistance and cooperation can be manifested by expanding the varied contracts between the IOJ and its national unions, by providing more active assistance in the training of journalists and by raising their qualification through a permanent exchange of opinions on different levels, more intensive information work and the dissemination of scientific knowledge about journalism as well as socio-political and specialised progressive publications that will help to develop such cooperation.

Hence, the importance of exchanges of delegations and groups of journalists, and joint participation in various journalists’ initiatives and in meeting on subject of interest to journalists as a whole cannot possible be over-emphasised, given the tremendous potential of such activities to the development of a new world information order.

Comrades, having set out some of the major principles that are required to bring about a new and honest dispersation (sic) in the internal flow of information that would ensure both authentic, relevant, educational and truthful news for the people and full integrity and job-satisfaction for media workers, I must, unfortunately, now descent from these heady heights to the real and cruel world imperialist, monopoly, mafia journalism that still engulfs, stifles and represses our region and the world.


I start with the concept of propaganda destabilisation.

Comrades, the word ‘destabilisation’ in nor our word, neither is it a concept that belongs to us or a form of behaviour practised by us.

You would remember it as a part of the lexicography of the United States Central Intelligence Agency, coined by one of their ex-directors.

And yet now it is a word that every Grenadian knows, for our people have known exactly what it means on their pulses and nerves ever since the first dawn of our Revolution.

They have experienced destabilisation in all its insidious, violent and most treacherous forms – economic, political, diplomatic and violent destabilisation – but its manifestation that has become as much a part of our lives as a bowl of callaloo soup or the scent of nutmegs, if the reality of propaganda destabilisation.

Our people can tune into one of a dozen stations and hear reports, purportedly about Grenada, but in truth about a fictional country that has never existed.

They can buy newspapers that print such blatant lies and disinformation as to create the screenplay for the most fantastic and vulgar of Hollywood melodramas, notwithstanding the remarkable record ex-Hollywood actors have sometimes seemed to demonstrate in that particular field of endeavour.

If they take with any degree of seriousness at all the extraordinary barrage of reports in the regional and North American press about military bases and activity here, then instead of the peaceful, verdant and productive island on which they live, they would behold as their homeland a start militarized zone of tar and concrete which would appear like an uneasy combination of Pearl Harbour, Chelsea Barracks, Cape Kennedy, West Point and the Panama Canal Zone – with fighter planes as numerous as our butterflies and nuclear submarines in flotillas like shoals of sprats!

In fact, the absurdity of the propaganda caricature of Grenada has reached such a point of high farce and such levels of hallucination and absurdity as to have completely refuted itself.

However rejection of the lies of the media mafia is now easy for our people in Grenada as we have set in motion in our country a profound level of mass mobilisation and mass education – which we believe to be twin aspects of the same process – that has made our people constantly vigilant and concerned to unravel, understand and defend the truth of events.

We have said before that we hold the truth itself to be revolutionary and we shall stand firm by its side.

Propaganda destabilisation and the systematic manipulation of falsehood, as practised by journalists unworthy of the name and media interests who have only corruption and decadence to defend, is perhaps the most sophisticate form of lying that human society – or perhaps it would be more accurate to say anti-human society – has ever generated.

We have witnessed examples of this grisly phenomenon over the last few years in our continent, perpetrated and orchestrated by the C.I.A., that would out-Goebbels, that most monstrous purveyor of the lie.

But the unleashed force of an organised people, a conscious people, a vigilant people, a united people, a people who are educating themselves and each other through their political process, a people who are stopping not only to listen, but also to analyse, criticise and discuss everything in their country from the budget to calypsoes (sic) to public health to events in El Salvador, Namibia or the Western Sahara, cannot be deceived or fooled so easily.

They stand as interpreters and protectors of the truth.

In the same way that they patrol and guard the beaches of our country from physical attack, they are also guardians of the truth.

In the same way that they are training themselves to repel any mercenary or imperialist incursion, they are also, through an accompanying process, training themselves to dispel the lies and slander that insult the truth of their progress and distort their Revolution.

But although imperialist propaganda destabilisation has out-lied and out-libeled itself and exposed its own rotting carcass in the process, honest and dedicated journalists clearly have a huge responsibility and obligation to hasten its final and inevitable self-destruction, for it has caused onerous and bloodsoaked damage throughout its rabid lifespan, and continues to do so in its throes of death.

In Grenada we have carefully analysed the extent of its devastation in Chile and Jamaica through such newspaper as El Mercurio and the Daily Gleaner respectively, and knowing what was set loose there, nothing the imperialist press can invent and say about us can ever give us any surprises.

We have read page after page of lies about us, ingeniously concocted by the hirelings of some of the richest media merchants in the world – about us, whose population would only amount to heads counted in a small North American city!

The Boston Globe, The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Christian Science Monitor, the Miami Herald, the Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, Newsweek, Time – why should they spend so much time, labour and printer’s ink writing about our tiny nation and composing more and more fantasy about our process?

In West Germany, shortly after our Revolution, Bunte magazine told us that we had a lightning-erected Soviet missile base with warheads aimed at neighbouring islands, perched somewhere like a fairy castle on the rugged peaks around the Grand Etang which you would have passed when you crossed over the central ridge of our island on your way from Pearls Airport to St. George’s.

Then, after a long, taxing and strenuous campaign to raise money to pay for our New International Airport which will have one 9,000 foot runway, the British Broadcasting Corporation obligingly informs us that in face we are putting down three runways, thus wishing that exhausting process on you again twice-over!

Indeed, with the recent reports in the London Daily Telegraph of yet another secret submarine base at Calivigny on our South-East coast, you might be excused from blinking your eyes and for a moment not believing you are in the National Conference Centre of Free Grenada but on a Hollywood film studio watching the filming of one of those old Z (sic) rated movies that Ronald Reagan used to enjoy acting in so much in his younger days.

However, the extraordinary reality is that while these fantastic stories circulate unashamedly in the imperialist press, and make out our beloved island to be a sinister haven of international intrigue, our people still work and produce in their gardens, factories and farms; our tourists enjoy our beaches and waterfalls and go for rides in mini-mokes all over our island; six hundred American medical students continue to supply themselves seriously to their studies, and our people in their busloads take Sunday afternoon excursions, have picnics, collect shells thrown up by the dredge at Hardy Bay and fly their kites with happiness and pride over their international airport project which they recognise correctly as the most important and vital economic project that our country has ever undertaken.

Comrades, we know that the C.I.A. has direct access to over 200 newspapers.

We also know that it put out its Bi-Weekly Propaganda Guidance to radio stations right through our continent.

We know of the twisted technique it uses to control those conservative newspaper in ‘flashpoint’ countries it needs to destabilise progressive governments.

We know how the newspaper editors and owners concerned are promoted overnight to the Board of Director of the Inter-American Press Aassociation at the outset of this destabilising process, for the sake of artificially boosting the prestige of their rags.

We have observed this clearly again in the case of El Mercurio in Chile, and more recently, in the case of Oliver Clarke, the publisher of the Jamaica Daily Gleaner.

We have noted the way in which progressive typesetters and designers on these target newspapers have been summarily dismissed and replaced by misguided elements, who, by using work-association techniques, pictorial insinuation, emotive symbolism and the juxtaposition of negative images with photographs of progressive leaders, have attempted to spread disorder, demoralization, distrust and fear amongst the readership of these journals.

We also know the editors of the largest and wealthiest newspapers in the Caribbean were invited to Washington in May, 1981 by the United States International Communications Agency, (U.S.I.C.A.), the propaganda arm of the U.S. State Department, for a crash course in those honourable professional techniques, and how a few weeks later the ignoble concept of the Free Press under imperialism was further dignified with identical front page editorials pouring ridiculous but sordid lie after lie, comma for comma, full stop for full stop on Grenada in the columns of the Gleaner, The Barbados Sunday Sun, the Barbados Advocate, the Trinidad Guardian and the Trinidad Express.

In this we saw the clumsy and unethical hypocrisy and dishonesty practised by the Caribbean proxies of the major U.S. press goliaths.

Their lack of deftness clearly shows that they still have a lot to learn from their U.S.I.C.A. masters and teachers, and we can confidently expect a return seminar for a little remedial education for Mr. Gordon, Mr. Clarke and their backward classmates.


Perhaps at this point it would be instructive for us to consider U.S.I.C.A. and I.A.P. A. a little more closely.

U.S.I.C.A. was born from its mother organisation, the United States Information Agency (U.S.I.A.).

The Deputy Director of this illustrious organisation, one Thomas C. Sorenson, said in the 1960s that:

The U.S.I.A. is the psychological instrument of the U.S. Government overseas, just as the State Department is the diplomatic instrument of the Agency for International Development, (U.S.A.I.D.) the economic assistance instrument, and the Central Intelligence Agency (C.I.A.) the intelligence instrument.

And as you can see, this is quite a constellation comrades: so let there be no doubts as to the motives of the U.S.I.C.A. seminar for the Caribbean media-chiefs.

For this ‘psychological instrument’ is openly waging war on the minds of the Caribbean and Latin American masses, taking many leaves from the U.S. Army’s Field Manual on Psychological Warfare.

In what is perhaps the zenith of cynicism, this enlightened document, required reading for all propaganda destabilisers, says quite bluntly:


Psychological activities are those carried out in peace time, or in places other than war theatres, in order to influence the feelings, attitudes and foreign groups in a manner favourable to the achievement of the policies of the United States.

And even though many of our Caribbean editors and newspaper owners went running to their master’s voice in Washington bursting with enthusiasm, it is important to remember that the ‘country team’ in any U.S. Embassy will contain not only military attaches, a C.I.A. station chief, USAID heads and a Peace Corps, co-ordinator – but also the head of the local U.S.I.C.A. mission, who is aiming his psychological arrows constantly at the political and economic power structures, trade union leaders, opposition prospects, editors, broadcasters, educators, community leaders and anyone else likely to serve his ends.

U.S.I.C.A.’s grim twin is I.A.P.A., whom we met earlier as the kindly sponsor of the destabilisation blitz in Chile and Jamaica.

This organisation, which has a truly impressive record of orchestration of outright slander, lies and scurrilous calumny was again the progeny of the U.S. State Department from when all good and pure destabilising instruments come.

It was first formed in 1926 as the First Pan-American Congress of Journalists, and seized in 1950 by the C.I.A. after it has passed to the leadership of a group of independent-minded journalists – a state of affairs, of course, intolerable to U.S. State structures.

Since then it has singlemindedly dedicated itself to a crusade against truth, and has been decorated many times for its intrepid attacks upon journalistic honesty and integrity.

Comrades, Grenada is a free area which is liberating itself from the false perspectives and distorting moulds of imperialism.

Our people are developing the critical consciousness and powers of discrimination to detect propaganda destabilisation whenever and however it threatens them.

It is a strange contradiction that the attempt at destabilisation hurled against our country by newspaper and radio are themselves steeling our people and sharpening their critical sense, making the more able and committed to identify, resist and beat back the lies.

Every slander thrown at us presents a mental manoeuvre for our people, an exercise which strengthens their consciousness and mind muscles.

In this sense, the propaganda destabilisers are unwittingly doing our people a favour, for they are creating within the minds of our people a determined mental militia which launches back a hundredfold of truth for every single falsehood aimed at our country.

Having lived through an apprenticeship of lies daily striking our shores, our people are building the fabric of resolution and truth which they are offering to the world.

For here in Grenada, falsehood shall not pass, even though it is the daily bread of imperialism.


Comrades, in order to seriously consider democracy and the press, we need to examine the situation in which the majority of Caribbean journalists apparently find themselves locked.

The working journalist is a true producer.

He follows and hunts the news, he hustles for stories, he uncovers the submerged truth of events, he blasts open secrets and corruption with his investigative dynamite.

Alongside this colleagues who produce and print the newspapers, he is the worker of news.

And yet his product is not his.

His work is valued solely in terms of how he contributes towards making profits for the owner of his medium, which is a commodity to be bought or sold at a market place like a pound of saltfish or a pole of mangoes.

While he strikes out towards the truth, the owner of his words and columns counts up his dollars and looks for ways of making more.

And if prostituting the truth is the way forward towards that end, then, so be it!

So how then does the honest journalist, whose work is alienated, relegated and despised, act?

We have seen some courageous resistance in relation to our own country when the calculated and co-ordinated swapping of falsehoods and vitriolic anti-Grenada editorials launched through a corrupt section of the Caribbean Press by the United States International Communications Agency, (U.S.I.S.A.), was met with a determined and principled act of protest by some of your Trinidadian colleagues, but many other regional journalists would prefer to work on in their own way, in their own individual niche, and continue to interpret that existence as ‘the freedom of the press’, even though their stories are cut or warped, even though their opinion in the enterprise in which they work is counted for nothing, even though they have no control over their working conditions, even though they have no say in the political direction of their newspaper, even though their just wage demands are treated with the same scorn as their skills and opinions, even though the decisions affecting their newspaper are taken over the clinking of glasses filled with Chivas Regal Scotch at a luxurious country club.

While the true journalist works with the people, searching out the truth of their real lives and problems, and writing stories seeking to expose the conditions bearing down on their own hope for progress, their employers machinate with the forces of falsehood, the media-monsters of the C.I.A. and Inter-American Press Association, the anti-people, anti-progress robots who are completely and unscrupulously Machiavellian in their appetite to distort all reality and shape it in the moulds of the voracious multi-national corporations.

These are the forces who claim to have sanctified the principles of Press Freedom, who control the region’s editorials, who prefer to print the computerized calumny of “top Pentagon officials’ to the real views and naked words of the Caribbean people.

Let us take, for example, the Trinidad Guardian of Wednesday, 3rd March of this year.

You would have seen the elegant headline emblazoned across the front page with the original, well-chosen words, GRENADA BASE OPEN TO REDS where one American Fred. (Fred S. Hoffman), a journalist [Associated Press Military Writer and Pentagon spokesman, Washington, D.C.], quotes another American Fred. (Dr. Fred C. Ikle), a U.S. Undersecretary of Defense, with more unsubstantiated lies and slander about how our International Airport is to become: an airbase available to the Soviet Union’.

If the hard-working Caribbean journalists or the bemused Caribbean reader begins to scratch his head in bewilderment at there his own people, his own aspirations, his own country beginning to fit into this network of Freds, and international scandal, it would not be unreasonable.

His own land, his own issues, his own problems have been leap-frogged, set aside and deemed irrelevant.

His voice is nothing, the screaming and shrieking of the U.S. State Department is clearly more important to the Trinidad Guardian than his Caribbean existence.

And yet this so-called ‘democratic press’ always seeking, as it so often tells us, to present all sides of the story, in the case of the March 3rd article, as indeed many other articles refused to print the letter of response sent by the People’s Revolutionary Government two days later, and up till now, has not even had the democratic manners to send back an acknowledgement.

We in Grenada were not surprised at these proceedings, neither have we been surprised at the dozens of other similar outpourings of lie and garbage which characterise the columns of the Trinidad Guardian or the Trinidad Express.

This is not to say that we are not also continually disgusted at the growing intensity and desperation of these utterances, cut we have made our customary analysis of those who see to defame us, and we understand their motives, for we understand the real power behind these pages.

These papers which proudly boast their independence, in fact speak with the same voice and the interests of the same class.

Jointly, there are eighteen director on the boards of these two newspapers.

Of the ten, about whom information exists, they have interlocking directorships in 47 other companies, including national, regional and multi-national business corporation such as insurance and stock broking companies and several banks, namely the Bank of Commerce, the Royal Bank of Canada, Barclays and the locally-owned National Commercial.

Clearly, journalistic integrity and democratic aspirations do not go hand-in-hand with such interests, and should the journalist of such enterprises wonder who he is truly serving, the facts are there before him.

It is surprising that such forces would attack, with so much bile and bitterness, the advances of the Grenada Revolution?

It is surprising that the knowledge of a proud and free people in an island just across the sea, who are claiming their right to control and direct their own destiny, build their own economy and cast away tyranny into the farthest memory of history, should provoke such passionate and maniacal fear among these paper barons?

A poor people gaining wealth through participation and organisation, a people casting their own moulds, a people resolved to finish with mimicry and fear.

No wonder they are frightened, for the spectre that haunts their drunken nights, the image which dances at the bottom of their Martini glasses, the shiver that shakes their flesh in their air-conditioned offices is the vision of the free people of Grenada building a new life on the ruins and wreckage of the system they uphold, and the terrible though that the readers of their own newspaper will one day, sooner than they fear, boldly take a parallel road.

This is why these newspapers whilst printing millions of words of lies about our process have printed nothing about our new revolutionary grassroots democracy here in Grenada, and why you will read pitifully few lines about our mass organisations, our workers’ Parish Council, our Zonal Councils.

And you will find next to nothing about these remarkable and vibrant structures of our people’s power – our organs of popular democracy in other newspapers up and down the region that are owned and managed by the same parasitical cabal.

Ken Gordon, for example, of the Trinidad Express, is also a transnational media magnate, with a part ownership in the St. Lucia Voice, the Barbados Nation, and the late, but not lamented Torchlight, which he used as a base of slanderous and destabilising operations here in Grenada.

Because we do not fear lies of the imperialists and their proxies, we allow into our country every day their newspapers and magazines with all their distortions against us.

Any day on the streets and in newspaper shops of our country, you can buy the Trinidad Express, the Trinidad Guardian, the Bomb, Challenge, Target, the Barbados Advocate, Time or Newsweek magazine but every week, notwithstanding our best efforts, you cannot buy on their streets our national newspaper The Free West Indian.

Yet, they are the ones who speak of press freedom.

I want to give you the benefit of some research done by our Media Workers Association.

They analysed the 19 month period from June 1980 to December 1981; to be more concrete they did a content analysis of a section of Caribbean press coverage that period for the following newspapers – Trinidad Guardian, Trinidad Express, Vincentian, Voice of St. Lucia, Dominica Chronicle, Barbados Advocate, Barbados Nation and occasional copies of the Jamaica Gleaner and the Trinidad BOMB newspapers.

What this analysis showed is that during this 19 month period, these papers carried some 1570 articles on Grenada during this period, which works out to be average of nearly 3 articles per day.

Some 60% of these articles were editorials or other comment and the remaining 40% was “straight” news.

About 60% of these articles were negative towards the Grenada Revolution being either downright lies or subtle and not so subtle distortions.

Furthermore, 95% of the P.R.G.’s rebuttals to many of these scandalous and libelous articles were never published.

It is clear that no other topic has attracted such vast coverage in this section of the Caribbean press over the last 3 years.

And Comrades will, of course, not that only some newspapers in a handful of islands are included without reference to radio or television coverage and also that the vast press and other media coverage in the rest of the Caribbean, Latin American, North America and Western Europe is excluded altogether from this analysis.

There is no doubt that the Grenada Revolution has been very profitable for the media magnates and salt-fish mafia of the region.

So what we do in Grenada raise (sic) in the place of the great democratic sham of the imperialist press?

Where do we seek the forms of our press democracy?

We uphold the freedom of the majority of the working people, who form the mass of our populations, to express their views and their right to have access to the mass media which serves their interests, which reflects their struggles and aspirations, their perceptions and opinions.

We vindicate a media which is a tool to help organise our people, for without that constant activity and participation there is no democracy, no collective strength.

We add that our media must inform our people honestly and seek to educate the, it must provide them with constructive criticism for the examination of problems and the formulation of solutions, with the opportunity to advance proposals and ideas that will help to form the country’s domestic and foreign policies.

As such, it is crucial that the people’s letters and complaints are openly printed for public comment, and conversely in the spirit of the principles of emulation that the most outstanding of our workers receive appreciation and recognition through our newspapers, radio and television.

To implement these principles there are 9 regular newspapers published in Grenada, in place of the only one rag that was being printed before the Revolution.

And a new newspaper, Fedon the voice of the People’s Revolutionary Armed Forces is to begin publication in the next few days.

Their owners are the masses and their mass organisations.

Look and scan with every means you have, comrades, you will find no directors of foreign banks editing or managing The Free West Indian, Women’s Voice, Fight, The New Jewel, the Pioneers Voice, Cutlass, Fork, Media Workers Voice, or the Workers Voice.

There is a newspaper serving all the major elements of our society: our youth, our women, our trade unionists, and our children as well as our national newspaper, The Free West Indian, which bind those constituent parts together.

Comrades, we cannot tell you, neither would we presume to tell you, to duplicate our experience here in Grenada in your own countries.

Your means of democratizing your media will arise out of your own conditions, your own struggles, your own definitions.

But every inch of ground gained in your workplaces is a liberated area for the entire Caribbean, every assault upon organised lying is a blow for truth which benefits every working person of the Caribbean, every defect of the press barons in things great and small means a few steps forward for all our people

Words are weapons, and the vested interest of the Caribbean media are pointing them not only at us in Grenada, but at any oppressed or scrunting group that being to stand up for a new and better life.

Comrades, we must turn the words around, aim them back at the exploiters and begin to free our Caribbean journalism of the despair and tyranny which holds it as a vice, and permits no democratic advance.

You are the writers, you hold the weapons.

You have the power to create your own notions and structures of press freedom that will expose and obliterate the terrible untruths that have made it, in the mouths of the ruling class of the press, the greatest and hollowest falsity of our age.


Comrades, although there may be differences between us in some matters, there is one issue in particular upon which, above all, I am certain that we stand absolutely united.

I am referring to the question of Peace, and the common commitment that we share to make our region a Zone of Peace.

Perhaps such an assertion has even greater significance at this present time when the forces of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation [NATO], led by the banks of the United States of America, are preparing once more to turn our Caribbean Sea into an armed lake.

Like an overgrown child at his bath time, President Reagan is about to drop into what he believes is his bathtub, his fleet of toy battleships and aircraft carriers filled to the brim with plastic planes and clockwork Marine.

I speak, of course, of the soon to be realised military manoeuvres code-named Ocean Venture 82, which are shortly to strike our region.

Such huge military rehearsals, so perilously close to our shores, and in fact including the shores of our comrades in Cuba and the occupied earth of Puerto Rico, only demonstrate one more time the proximity of war and the blasé, imperial and Munroe Doctrine-like attitude of the United States to our region and waters.

The impunity with which their carriers of war float around our Caribbean is only encouraged by those governments which say that a shipload of American sailors in port brining in thousands of dollars to their foreign exchange justifies their presence in our seas.

Let us be clear that such money is nothing more than the wages of war, the cost of prostituting our sisters, the mercenary price paid to harass and threaten our region, to militarise it and turn it into a potential theatre of war and as such it can never be justified!

In this context, it is crucial that our regional journalists accomplish their sacred mission to be the propagandists of peace.

Mere saber-rattling has developed into the rumbling of aircraft carriers and the hissing of nuclear missiles, and these are the noises we shall be hearing more and more in our region while the present U.S. warmongering continues.

Any journalist that seeks to preserve peace and help to secure a future for humanity ha a decisive role and responsibility here and how, that of monitoring the warlords, keeping on their tail, never losing sight of them, constantly supplying detailed and exact information on their movements and violations, and keeping continually vigilant to their threats and provocations.

In our own region we have had a particularly admirable example of such investigative power by some of our journalists.

For years in two islands of the Caribbean, Antigua and Barbados, a trans-national munitions company was secretly developing and testing a lethal artillery device on behalf of the South African racist government.

This giant howitzer was not only used to lob and explode a nuclear warhead some five miles into the upper atmosphere, but also to shell and murder our African comrades in Angola during the abortive South African invasion into that sovereign state while the brave Angolans were fighting their Second War of Liberation.

The foul and clandestine work of this transnational company, which operated under bogus respectability as the Space Research Corporation, was unmasked by courageous and outstanding journalists both in Barbados and Antigua.

Their probing work had important consequences for it resulted in this poisonous company being ejected from both islands.

As such, it was a blow not only for the preservation of peace in our region and an expulsion of the racist scientists of death, but also a victory on behalf of the oppressed and struggling people of South Africa, for every deprivation of weaponry the Pretoria regime suffers, gives more hope and inspiration to the South African liberation forces and brings their inevitable victory a step forward.

It must be emphasised that our quest for peace here in the Caribbean and the exposing of warmongering and bellicose initiatives provoked by imperialism in our own region by our own journalists, is not only good for our own dignity, but as a global significance for in the age of thermonuclear arms, the threat to peace even in a speck of the world like two very small islands barely seen on a world map, in a threat to peace for the entire world.

In this epoch, comrades, the eyes of the world are staring squarely at our region.

They see our Caribbean as a flashpoint, a trouble spot with an intensity that we have never experienced before.

The struggle of our heroic neighbours, first in Nicaragua and now in El Salvador and Guatemala, has made our region the world’s focus, the target for international journalism.

The future of humanity is being fought out on our doorstep, and the need for accurate,  pro-human democratic and progressive journalism in such a scenario is unprecedented in our region.

The integrity of Caribbean journalism has never been so necessary, so fundamental, so critical as it is now.

The warmongers and tyrants know well that the honest journalist, no matter what his personal ideology may be, is an obvious and natural ally of the national liberation movements.

He is recording resistance to oppression, the struggle for bread and justice, the hop and aspiration towards a better life.

Whether it was Herbert Matthews, an American, covering the struggle of Fidel and his comrades and articles by Basil Davidson from the liberated zones of Guinea-Bissau, Angola and Mozambique, or John Reed’s inspiring words from revolutionary Russia in 1917, the journalist is the crucial link between the fighter for freedom and peace and the man or woman reading a newspaper in any street in any city of office in any country.

This is plainly why the ex-five star general of the defeated U.S. Army in Vietnam, General Westmoreland, is now openly declaring that in any future conflict involving the United States, and American and international press must be restricted, and must not have open access to the battle zones.

He knows, perhaps better than anyone, how much American public opinion was turned against the U.S. Vietnamese adventure through the day-by-day reporting from the front line by newspaper, radio and television, and how the American people grew sickened, appalled and ashamed by the vile brutal actions of their own soldiers, by the defoliation and chemical warfare.

Westmoreland and others of his ilk understand only too well how American parents – many of them poor – were watching with increasing horror the futile maiming and permanent destruction of their own sons on the television screen while standing in their own living rooms, or how ordinary Americans who talked glibly about the great American ideal sat transfixed as they watched the newsreels showing the cold-blooded torture and executions of young men who were supposed to be Viet Cong suspects.

Clearly, after that war, journalism could never be the same again, and nothing did more to resolutely change American public opinion and put it against the war, despite the continued frothings and spluttings of the warlords.

In the same way, in June 1979 in Nicaragua, when the American public saw a news film of the arbitrary and merciless killings of an ABC correspondent [Bill Stewart] by one of Somoza’s National Guard, there was a horrified and incredulous outcry through America which clearly made it extremely difficult for the U.S. hawks to take the option they wanted of direct military intervention in Nicaragua.

This event was to prove very significant for the eventual Sandinista victory.

And we could compare a situation, as in Nicaragua or El Salvador, where the press are able to cover the war, despite the immense difficulties, to a situation where they cannot.

In East Timor, the FRETILIN [Revolutionary Front for an Independent East Timor] soldiers of national liberation have been waging a six-year war with irresponsible courage, against the Indonesian armed forces who invaded their country a week after it achieved its independence following centuries of Portuguese Colonialism in 1976.

East Timor, an enclave on an island in South East Asia, has been sealed off from journalists by an air and sea blockage, and receives scant publicity and little reporting.

Consequently, the just struggle of its people has never received the kind of international solidarity of other struggles for peace and justice that have been more prolifically covered by international journalism.

The result is that a heroic people continue a massive struggle in virtual isolation, and carry forward their drive towards freedom under a serious disadvantage – a vacuum of press coverage.

So comrades, in this present period when national liberation struggles and the demands of the poor and working people dominate our region and much of the world, it is the right and responsibility of the journalist of integrity to move to cover them, to report upon them, to photograph, film and record them, to spread out the news of their people’s struggles from Namibia, from El Salvador, from South Africa, from East Timor, from the Western Sahara, from Palestine.

For their cause and the cause of all oppressed and struggling people march side by side with the cause of peace.

There can be no true peace while the lives of these heroic people with justice on their side are dominated by tyranny or circumscribed by oppression.

Our times are full and echoing with the insane talk of war.

In the United States there is the attempt by the disciples of the monstrous industrial-military complex to legitimise the concepts of “limited nuclear war”, the “First Strike” option, the dangerous concept of “linkage”, the Reagan Doctrine to total uncritical support for international outlaw regimes like Zionist Israel and racist South Africa because they best represent the global expansionist and warlike ambitions of the neutron warlords, and many journalists are falling into the feral trap of favourable publicizing, and thus giving credence to this madness.

Clearly, freedom-loving and peace-loving journalists must take the firmest possible stand against such jockeying with the future of our earth, our humanity and everything our people have ever wrested from their history and everything we have ever built for our children.

On this fundamental question of peace, disarmament, détente and peaceful co-existence, we must stand united and nothing must tear us apart, for over and above everything else it stands as the most vital issue of our day, the first issue and the last issue: the right to life itself, for any and all of our peoples.


Faced with this historic responsibility, how can progressive journalists counter such vile propaganda designed to whip up fear and hysteria and create an artificial and erroneous public opinion to the ideas for peace and disarmament shared by a growing majority of mankind?

We wish to suggest a number of ways that democratic and progressive journalists using their pens and microphones can wage ideological struggle against the forces of reaction, misinformation and mystification.

Tell your readers and your listeners that peaceful coexistence is a necessity, indeed, that there is no alternative to world peace, that détente is advantageous to all countries, that the right to live in peace is the most basic human right, the guarantor of all other rights.

Explain to your readers and your listeners that the objective of international relations should be disarmament, not arms races and show them how the colossal amount of resources now being squandered on arms should be used to solve the great universal programs of hunger, poor health , illiteracy, standard housing, etc.

Expose to your readers and your listeners that the drift towards war and military intervention is not in the interest of the peoples of our Americas but only served the military-industrial-state complex’s greed for ever greater profits from the manufacture and sale of weapons.

Highlight in your news reports and commentaries all proposals for disarmament, all disarmament conferences, the activities of the growing peace movement around the world and the efforts to have the Caribbean declared and recognised in practice as a Zone of Peace.

Expose in your papers and on your radio and television stations the lies against the Cuban Revolution, the Nicaraguan Revolution, the Surinamese process, the Grenada Revolution and the truth and reality of the reasons for the struggles of the oppressed peoples of El Salvador, Guatemala and elsewhere.

We in Grenada believe that the peoples of the world have the fundamental right to obtain an objective idea of the reality with the help of clear and precise information and at the same time the right to freely express their opinion through the mass media.

Connected to that is our view that today’s journalists have a great responsibility to help make information broadly accessible to public opinion and to enable public opinion to directly participate in the work of the mass media.

This places on the journalist a responsibility to exercise professional honesty, regret for human dignity and defence of universal human values and in this context we strongly support the efforts of UNESCO, the IOJ [International Organization of Journalists] and the world democratic journalists movement to establish an international code of journalism ethics based on the following responsibilities and ethical standards:

1)  The journalist is responsible for what he writes, publishes or broadcasts.

2)  The journalist has a duty to defend peace and non-recourses to force in the resolving of international disputes.

3)  The journalist has a responsibility to struggle against all forms of discrimination and racial, social or religious intolerance.

4)  The journalist has a responsibility to minutely verify the information commented on or intended for publication of broadcast.

5)  That journalists who engage in publishing or broadcasting cheap sentimentalism, vulgarity, pornography, lies, false information, hoaxes and standards violate the lofty principles of professionalism manipulate public opinion by diverting its attention from the real and important issues and prostitute themselves to reaction and its greed to make profits from such journalistic abuses.

6)  That the journalist has the duty to preserve the honour of his profession and to maintain in relations with his colleagues a balance between the spirit of healthy competition and professional solidarity

And never for one moment be tempted to believe that to achieve such an international code of ethics does not involve just as great a struggle as that for a new world information order.

Indeed, they are one and the same thing.


Comrades, before concluding I wish to take this opportunity to restate Grenada’s views on the one news event which has surpassed all others in recent time, in the coverage it received from the Caribbean mass media – President Reagan’s visit to our region last week.

The character of this visit and the inflammatory remarks made by President Reagan constituted a fundamental insult to the people of Barbados, the people of the Caribbean and the regional journalist community.

Firstly, Reagan ignores Mr. Michael Manley, opposition leader in Jamaica, during his one day visit there, then shortly after landing in Barbados, on the soil of a sister Caricom Nation, he launches a vehement attack on Grenada, another member of the Caribbean Community.

During his four-day stay he insultingly refuses to drive in a car provided by the Barbadian people, or eat Barbadian food or accept the quality of Barbadian health care.

This illustrious gentleman who fancies himself as a 20th century emperor not only takes with him a royal entourage of hundreds of courtiers and minions armed even with their own toilet paper but also a battalion of swarming Western newsmen who enjoy free access to all the places and events that the Emperor graces with his presence while Barbadian and Caribbean journalists are harassed, bullied and denied their national and professional rights to cover the visit by Reagan’s crew of racist security goons.

This insult, this imperial arrogance, this wanton and contemptible disrespect on the sovereign soil of our region, comrades, deserves the strongest condemnation from all democratic and independent minded people our own Caribbean.

And there are lessons that Caribbean journalists and Caribbean journalism must glean from such experiences, for what we witnessed last week are the characteristics of an insensitive millionaire who represents the interests of an imperialist ruling class whose co-called concern for the region’s people is crassly opportunistic.

Caribbean journalism therefore cannot set itself apart in some illusionary ivory tower of objectivity and not arise its voice against this and similar abuses, insults and disrespectful and imperialist practices against the independent, sovereign and freedom-loving people of our region.


Indeed, Caribbean journalism has the duty and responsibility to side with exploited and oppressed masses of our region against monopoly control.

For as long as there are social classes in our societies, and as long as our region and the world is divided into rich and poor, haves and have notes, privileged and under-privileged journalism cannot exist and function outside of these contradictions.

It cannot be independent of society, it cannot be uncommitted to topical social problems because it would lose its purpose and cease to be journalism at all.

On the contrary, only its close connection with society, with the forces of progress of the forces of backwardness, do we find the substance and purpose of journalism’s existence.


It is clear that one of the major challenges that will confront progressive and honest journalists in our region in the months and years ahead is the urgent task of demonopolizing the Caribbean mass media, particularly the region’s large newspapers with their myriad corporate and ideological linkages.

And growing out of this effort will be the struggle to democratise the workplaces where journalists labour, i.e. to provide opportunities to participate in editorial and management decision-making processes, to set productivity targets, to organise emulation and grievance committees and to share the profits of the media enterprises.

And it must be emphasised that the issue of concentration and monopolization of newspaper has relevance not only to Caribbean journalism but to Western journalism in general.

Permit me here, comrades, to refer to the findings and recommendation of a Canadian Parliamentary Commission that recently studied the state of the newspaper profession in Canada.

As much cannot be said for the concept of press freedom as the guarantee of responsibility.

In a one-newspaper town, it means nothing except the right of a proprietor to do what he will with his own.

In a country that has allowed papers to be owned by a few conglomerates, freedom of the press means, in itself, only that enormous influence with responsibility is conferred on a handful of people.

For the heads of such organisations to justify their position by appealing to the principle of the freedom of the press is offensive to intellect and honesty.

Today we are bombarded by information that is far greater in quality, and is more complex in nation than we can digest.

To be even moderately informed, therefore, we depend increasingly on the services of intermediaries who select and interpret for us.

The most generally important to these intermediaries are the newspapers.

Their old and difficult obligations to be accurate and fair and balanced in their reporting, remain.

The increasingly difficult task is to make reports of complex matters both accurate and interesting, with the necessary brevity.

To go below the facts to their significance, to give the truth by interpreting without distorting, is even more demanding of the journalist’s knowledge and understanding, perseverance and patience.

To be well done, journalism required both penetration and breadth of mind at least equal to those of any other occupation.

The Commission emphasises what is regards as the essentially professional nature of the journalist’s work.

The professional – the doctor or the lawyer, for example – places his special skills at the service of the patient or client, to deal with problems which the layman does not himself know what to do about.

The professional is in honour bound to use his judgment to do what is best for the health or welfare of his client.

The layman has a closely analogous need for the journalist’s services to select from the mass of available facts, the information which is significant to most of our newspaper’s readers and to present that information in a way that is accurate, understanding, comprehensive, interesting and balanced.

In the days of head-on newspaper competition, and in a less complex society, it is natural that most journalists should think of themselves, and should be seen, as practising a craft rather than a profession.

It is equally natural that the adjustment of attitudes to a changed society and the role of the monopoly newspaper should take time.

What is sad is that the organisation of the newspaper industry is making the transition so very long.

Many journalists are under-educated for their responsibilities.

More are underpaid.

Almost all lack the editorial leadership that would give them the understanding and the opportunity to perform the service that a free society now requires of them.

The Davey Committee said 11 years ago that the newsrooms of most Canadian newspapers were bone yards of broken dreams.

Our investigations lead us to think that there are now fewer dreams to break.

Some of the cynicism is the deeper one of not having had dreams.

Journalist’s confidence in their publishers is thin or worse.

They are frustrated by, even more, confused.

This malaise is, in the Commission’s view, part of the price we pay for conglomerate ownership.

We certainly agree with these opinions and hasten to wish all success to the democratic journalists of Canada in their attempts to break the stronghold of the corporate mafia as they strive to develop an honest and professional approach to the career of their choice.


We in Grenada are humbled and greatly honoured at having been given the opportunity to host a conference of such historic significance and we wish the delegates and the organizers all success in their deliberations over the next three [3] days.

We sincerely hope that this conference will initiate an ongoing process of dialogue and professional co-operation among the region’s journalists.

Comrades, the 20th century has been called the “century of information”.

Never before has information played such an important role as today because today the mass media powerfully influence the minds and hearts of millions of people thereby contributing greatly to the general regional and international climate and the forming of public opinion.

All the greater, then, is the significance for the future well-being of our peoples the questions of how and for what purpose are the mass media operating and whether they serve the aims of peace, progress and truth, or whether they spread discord, distrust and lies among countries and peoples.

This problem clearly shows the broad scope of the responsibility that must be assumed today, tomorrow and the days ahead by journalism, and journalists in the Caribbean, Latin America and the world.

Again, in the name of our party, government and people, I welcome you to our struggling but proud country.

We trust that you will receive the opportunity during your stay to see a bit of our country, experience the warmth of our friendly and peace-loving people and discover the truth of our new reality as our people struggle together in a united and determined way to build a society free of all forms of exploitation and injustice.

With the greatest of pleasure I now declare this historic conference formally open and wish for all the participants peace, justice, ever-increasing consciousness and job-satisfaction and success in your collective endeavours to hasten the day of the New World Information order.












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