Socio-Cultural Department head discusses draft media policy, council

At the UTS Training and Development Center, the Socio-Cultural Development Department held a meeting with members of the press core and a representative of the Government Information Service to discuss the media policy, the advertising policy, and the media council. 

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Head of the SCD Department Neville York welcomed the organizational representatives and gave a short introduction.

Participants were given the opportunity as well to send in their comments and questions regarding the proposed legislation…

York said that the media is an important part of the functioning of society as a whole; as such it is key in maintaining a healthy, strong a vibrant democracy.

During the meeting, the initial discussion centered on the media council, which is to be tasked with:

a) promoting fairness, accuracy, accountability and journalistic integrity in the content and presentation of media coverage, including news reports, comments, articles and pictures, through the creation of an independent Media Council; and

b) Establishing standards/codes of conduct for the media and a mechanism for dealing with complaints of breach of those standards/codes.

York said that in some weeks the media policy and advertising policy will be translated, and a next meeting will be scheduled to have a short presentation and to discuss these policies in detail.

York in a comment after the meeting explained the power and influence of the Media Council and by extension the media through the code of conduct and its self regulatory function. The media plays a very important and constructive role by educating, entertaining, influencing the community and society. It could further help build bridges through awareness and understanding by promoting love, care, unity, closeness and togetherness between communities and all people. This is extremely vital for a good system and progress and prosperity of any democratic country.

Other topics include the code of ethics for the media, media policies in different countries, off-limit topics to cover, among different topics.

With the input from the different media houses and journalists, these documents will be reviewed and looked at from the perspective of how can these draft laws be made more specific to St. Maarten uniqueness while upholding international standards.

The primary reason for government’s involvement in facilitating the establishing a Media Council is purely because a vacuum exists in this area as far as self regulating institutions. The Lawyers, Doctors, Insurance Companies etc are all self regulated. The area of media in society can be regulated just as any of the other areas, like Telecommunication, etc. Thus the media is strongly urged to come to the meeting to give their input into the document.


The Media policy is one that outlines the parameters of the operations of the media. It is important that government prepare and enact a media council that monitors the media, and advertising.

The advertising policy regulates advertising through the media.

The Media council is tasked with advising the Government, as an independent advisory organ about the information policy in general and the media policy with regard to radio, television, press and other forms of mass communication in particular.

It will deal with all modern and current aspects of transforming information (media, news articles, to advertising) to the general public via the various medium of media, i.e. radio, TV, the internet, newspapers, etc.

The council will be comprised of person(s) that is selected by the government and the media organizations.

Though the media and society operates by the civil code, it is something different. The policy will go across the board.

The aim is to get the media policy ready for Country St. Maarten.