OECS Political Orientation
Government Type: Parliamentary Democracy (unique Parliament of the OECS)
Director-General of the OECS: Dr. Didacus Jules
Political Party: Prime Ministers, opposition party leaders, and chosen members from 11 member states make up the OECS Assembly; therefore, there is no dominant party.
Political Position: Center
World Press Freedom Rank: OECS 93/180
Reporters Without Borders notes that editorial censorship and growing political influence are the two main problems against maintaining strong press freedom.
Media Ownership and Government Analysis
Founded in 1981, The Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) is an economic union comprising 11 member states in the Eastern Caribbean. Please see the complete list of members here. The OECS Assembly is a regional Parliament with “Each Parliament of an independent Member State entitled to elect five of its members to the Assembly.” These delegates must include the prime ministers and the opposition leaders. The Chairmanship is rotated alphabetically by country on an annual basis.
The media landscape of OECS islands is diverse. There are privately-owned newspapers such as The Voice and The Star and broadcast media like Helen Television Systems (HTS) and Daher Broadcasting Service (DBS). However, the ownership information lacks transparency.
RSF reports that in several OECS islands, “political parties hold majority shares in media,” and the government has “significant influence over radio stations, newspapers, and online media outlets.” For example, in The Caribbean islands of Antigua and Barbuda, there are two main political parties: the ruling party, Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party (ABLP), and its leader and current PM is Gaston Browne, and the main opposition United Progressive Party (UPP). Freedom House reports that most media outlets are either affiliated with the current ABLP government or the UPP. For example, the Observer Media Group privately owns the Daily Observer (Antigua) and its radio station, which is often critical of Prime Minister Gaston Browne.
The member governments also run media such as ABS radio and television, where RSF reports that elected officials “can withdraw state advertising from media outlets.” For example, RSF reports there was a “cover-up of a worker’s protest against the general manager of Grenada’s Broadcasting Network.”
In summary, The Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) lacks press freedom as the government influences media directly and indirectly through ownership or advertising money. State-controlled media is also prone to political interference, while privately-owned news media sometimes lacks the transparency of ownership and political affiliation. Please note, that this is a general analysis of all the member islands. Press freedom and government influence will vary in each Island state.
Last Updated on May 5, 2023 by Media Bias Fact Check
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