Journalism without editorial censorship in St. Kitts and Nevis and the rest of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) is seemingly under threat, according to the latest release of the World Press Freedom Index.
The OECS body has dropped to number 50 out of 180 countries surveyed in the 2019 World Press Freedom Index compiled by Reporters Without Borders (RWB)- a 15 places drop from the 35th spot of 2018.
The RWB Index evaluates the state of journalism in 180 countries and territories every year. The OECS ranked 38 in 2017, 35 in 2018 and 50 in 2019.
In its 2019 index, Reporters without Borders said: “Editorial censorship rocks the (OECS) region.”
It noted that journalism is not a prestige profession in the countries that are members of the Organization of East Caribbean States.
“They receive little training and often abandon media work because it is so badly paid, an issue that particularly affects female journalists in the region.
Many media outlets are under the direct influence of politicians, especially during elections, because officials can withdraw state advertising at any time and deprive them of income they depend on,” the 2019 report said.
It noted that in some of the Islands, political parties even own or have major shares in media companies compromising journalistic independence.
“The authorities are also monitoring social networks more and more closely, which encourages a degree of self-censorship. In 2018, reports of editorial censorship by the general manager of the Grenada Broadcasting Network brought into question the journalistic independence enjoyed by reporters working for Grenada’s largest media network,” said RWB.
The 2019 World Press Freedom Index compiled by Reporters Without Borders (RWB) shows how hatred of journalists has degenerated into violence, contributing to an increase in fear. The number of countries regarded as safe, where journalists can work in complete security, continues to decline, while authoritarian regimes continue to tighten their grip on the media.
A quick browse of social media platforms in St. Kitts and Nevis, especially Facebook amplifies the assessments made by RWB, particularly in relation to “propaganda outlets.”