Today’s Editorial May 03: Freedom of press is essential

As the world marks press freedom today the Committee to Protect Journalists has come out with its list of Top 10 countries where such freedoms have eroded.

Thankfully, the Cayman Islands isn’t on the list.

But our neighbour to the north – Cuba – is.

We are fortunate here in that the media is free for the most part to report on diverse issues without dire consequences from Government.

According to the Committee to Protect Journalists authorities in several countries are silencing critical coverage by imprisoning journalists.

Cuba and Ethiopia became two of the world’s leading jailers of journalists in the past five years.

Morocco, often cited as a regional model for press freedom, is now tied with Tunisia for the dubious distinction of sentencing the most journalists to prison in the Arab world.

While we don’t face the threats that journalists do in the offending countries on the CPJ list, the Cayman Islands still doesn’t have legislation guaranteeing press freedom.

But that is expected to change when Government passes the Freedom of Information Law.

Media access to information is vital if Caymanians are to make well informed decisions both at election time and as they make life-changing choices.

As recently as last year Cayman Free Press fought a court order that threatened to stymie the flow of information from an open courtroom to the public.

We were successful and will continue to monitor efforts to suppress information that the public has a right and need to know.

We do it daily, not just on World Press Freedom Day.

And we take our responsibility seriously.

Cayman Free Press has a history of fairly and accurately reporting the news.

We do not find it necessary, as some media houses do, to sensationalise or editorialise in our news reporting.

Too, it is rare that you will read editorials in this publication that repeatedly tell our readers how fair, noble and important we are.

We leave that determination up to our reading public.

Do we make mistakes? Sure we do. But we have in place a policy to correct errors as soon as they are brought to our attention.

As you read today’s edition of the Caymanian Compass and listen to other media houses report on the happenings in the Cayman Islands, be thankful that we live in a society that respects press freedoms.