The Association of Caribbean Media Workers (ACM) calls on the authorities of Sint Maarten, specifically the Department of Communication of the Ministry of General Affairs, to promptly withdraw a proposed Media Accreditation Policy, notice of which was issued on April 12, 2022.
The measures announced in the policy are in direct contradiction with basic principles attached to observance of press freedom, including unfettered access by the media and, by extension, all residents, and citizens to public information.
The policy in its stated intent, its accompanying Code of Conduct, and the sanctions outlined clearly erect obstacles to efficient media coverage of official events and can have a chilling effect on freedom of the press.
There are provisions of the policy that permit discriminatory acts against targeted individuals and enterprises and impose conditions that may constitute a restraint of trade against media houses and restrictions on the free conduct of journalism by selected media professionals.
Application of the policy is also subject to assessments of the quality of journalistic practice by a state authority in the process of imposing limitations against outputs not deemed to be in line with amorphous editorial guidelines.
We recommend the wholesale withdrawal of the policy and the design of appropriate media protocols executed by the Department of Information, in consultation with the local media community, and applied exclusively to Press Briefings of the Council of Ministers.
President of The Association of Caribbean Media Workers