About 12 years ago The Observer was established in Nevis, and it was then that the practice of fair and accurate journalism was born in the Federation.
Since then, the practice of journalism in the Federation has indeed grown and improved, with The Observer leading the way.
Publisher and owner of The Observer, Kenneth Williams, spent a great deal of money in bringing some of the most talented journalists from all over the world to work in the Federation.
Such talented people have contributed greatly to what journalism has become in this country.
Williams is indeed a pioneer. Especially considering when The Observer was born many people doubted that the Federation would be able tolerate an independent newspaper that reflected the society in all it complexities, without bias.
However, the practice of journalism in the Federation is still not where it should be. The Observer is no longer the lone media house that claims to be fair and balance. We now have a multitude of ‘journalists’ — trained and untrained — working in the Federation.
Yet, journalists are not respected as much as they should be.
Reports have reached The Observer of journalists being threatened by police, politicians and even citizens for doing their job.
There is no doubt that journalists play a very important role in a democratic society. Journalism is the lubrication that allows the wheels of democracy to turn. Without that lubrication the wheels would turn very slowly.
With such an important role in the society, journalists in the Federation need to ensure that the profession is highly regarded.
The Federation is said to have a media association, which apparently is not being taken seriously, not even by the journalist who are apart of that association.
Those who are running the association have yet to call one meeting in the past two years. What exactly is the role of this media association? The media association is suppose to promote excellence and integrity in the practice of journalism. That is not happening.
The media association is suppose to help in the instruction of aspiring journalist. That is not happening.
The media association is suppose to carry forward the value of independent journalism in the public interest. That is not happening.
It is time that we as journalist gather together to improve the level of quality journalism in the Federation.
We at The Observer are not blaming any one person or persons for the failure of the association. In fact we are blaming ourselves. We are all to blame.
We at The Observer plan to take the lead, and revive the media association in the Federation. We are calling on medias — from the Internet, to radio, newspapers and television — to join us in our quest to improve the journalism profession in St. Kitts.
Yes, we have come far in the last couple of years, but there is still much more to be done. Especially when so many of our young journalists need the training and support to move on the next level, especially in broadcasting.
In the next couple of weeks The Observer will publish a series of articles on the practice of journalism in the Federation.
We are going to examine ourselves and critically study our strength, weaknesses and opportunities.