Min. Hughes stresses need for high-quality broadcasting content in Region

Group-Picture-696x456MINISTER of Public Telecommunications, Catherine Hughes, has emphasised the need for consistency in the production of good-quality broadcasting content even as she called on the Caribbean Broadcasting Union (CBU) to critically assess where the industry is heading and assist the Region to chart a course towards reaping the economic benefits of its creativity.

Minister Hughes was at the time delivering the feature address at the CBU’s Annual General Assembly (AGM) which convened this week in Nassau, Bahamas. According to a release, top executives and other personnel of more than 22 media companies in the Caribbean are currently in Nassau participating in the event being held at the British Colonial Hilton Hotel, under the theme, ‘Digital Developments in Caribbean Media.’ It commenced on Monday and will conclude on Thursday.

Minister Hughes delivered the feature address on the theme, and she emphasised the need for consistent production of good-quality content by broadcasters. “As we transition from analogue to digital in all spheres, technology will drive more than content. It will drive competition, It will drive convergence, and context, it will drive communication, which channels are used and how we will all benefit collectively and commercially,” Minister Hughes said.

She informed the AGM that in Guyana, there exist two locally developed versions of “Uber.” She said that at the Hackathon which her ministry hosted last year, the winning team designed an app, “Tell us,” in a mere 48 hours that allows citizens to report a crime, roads that need to be fixed, broken pipes and much more. Another group met the challenge of linking small farmers with potential markets for crops – which could be local or international in real-time she noted.

Currently, the networks in Guyana, Suriname and Trinidad are developing strong collaboration, recognising that to play the animation production game one must have seats and creators, she noted. “These are the stories we must tell in today’s Caribbean and there are many in each of our territories,” Minister Hughes said.

Prime Minister of The Commonwealth of the Bahamas, Dr. Hubert Minnis, delivered a message to participants and special invitees in the packed Governor’s Ballroom Lobby at the meeting’s opening ceremony on Monday. He noted that as global interdependence and development continue to increase at a rapid pace, information and communication technologies (ICTs) are viewed as indispensable resources to the way in which people lead their daily lives. He also noted that ICTs play a vital role in expanding the regional and world economies. ‘The CBU with a current membership of 24 nations has demonstrated that partnerships and a firm foundation geared towards propelling the industry are what is needed’ he added.

Current issues being discussed at the Assembly include social media guidelines for journalists; developments in digital radio standards; and, recent developments in digital television transition. Two highlights of the event are the induction of Mr. Victor Torres Crespo, a Cuban broadcaster, in the CBU Hall of Fame last evening, and the CBU Awards scheduled for this evening between 8 pm and 10 pm today at the Atlantic Resort on Paradise Island.

The CBU, which was founded in 1970, is a not-for-profit association of public service and commercial broadcasters in the Caribbean. In fulfilling its commitment to the deepening of the integration process, CBU functions in both an advocacy and representational role. As a regional institution, it facilitates discussion and analysis that assist in policy formulation on major integration issues.

Also attending the Assembly from Guyana are Advisor to the Minister and Chair of the National Communications Network (NCN), Enrico Woolford and Chief Executive Officer of NCN and member of the CBU’s Board of Directors, Lennox Cornette.

The members of the CBU Board of Directors are: Gary Allen – RJR Group (Jamaica) President; Amalia Mai – Great Belize Productions) Vice President; Beulah Jonis (St. Maarten Cable Television); Trevor Parker (Antigua and Barbuda Broadcasting Systems); Lennox Cornette – National Communications Network (Guyana) Victor Torres Crespo (Cuba); and Anthony Shaw, (Starcom, Barbados).