in the Caribbean
Volume 22 No 4
Copyright reserved and reproduction without permission strictly forbidden.
7. The Problem of Imported Television Content in the Commonwealth
Everold N. Hosein
26. Legal Constraints of the Mass Media in a Caribbean in Transition
43. The Mass Media of Communications and Socialist Change in the
Caribbean: A Case Study of Jamaica
50. Some Observations on the Role of the Mass Media in the Recent
Socio-Political Development in Jamaica
59. Cuban Communicators
James Carty, Jr.
68. The Revolutionary Focus of Guillen's Journalism
79. Theme and Form in the Speeches of Norman Manley and
90. The Oldest Existing Newspapers in the Commonwealth Caribbean
John A. Lent
107. Poem: Like Faces Caught (for Allyson)
108. Poem: News Room Nightmare
109. Review: Mass Media in the Commonwealth Caribbean: Recent
Bibliographical Series by John A. Lent
VOL. 22 NO. 4
110. Review: History of Alliouagana (A Short History of Montserrat)
by Howard Fergus
113. Review: On Holy Week by Mervyn Morris
116. Notes on the Contributors
117. Books Received
118. Publications of the Department
UNIVERSITY OF THE WEST INDIES
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Sidney Martin, Pro-Vice Chancellor, U.W.I., Cave Hill, Barbados.
Roy Augier, Pro-Vice Chancellor, U.W.I., Mona, Jamaica.
J. J. Figueroa, Professor Caribbean Centre of Advanced Studies, Puerto Rico.
G. A. O. Alleyne, Professor, Department of Medicine.
Lloyd Coke, Department of Botany, U.W.I., Mona.
Neville McMorris, Department of Physics, U.W.I., Mona.
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Contemporary Caribbean issues turn as much on the place of the communications
media in social change as they do on the substance, nature and direction of that change.
This issue of Caribbean Quarterly therefore focuses attention on aspects of what is still a
dynamic force in the debate about, and the policies designed to effect, fundamental
change in the political, socio-economic and cultural development of the Caribbean region.
There is an increasing sense of urgency among policy-determiners and communications
media professionals alike-what with the growing awareness of the fact that five giant
news agencies, all of which are transnational organizations, dominate the entire world in-
formation system, according to a recent UNESCO survey of some 200 countries.
In the circumstances countries of the Third World are particularly vulnerable. For "the
effects of cultural domination and dependence fostered by most of the prevailing inform-
ation patterns are much more penetrating than those of purely economic domination and
This view which is widely held throughout the Third World received recent endorse-
ment from the editor of a recent publication from the Dag Hammarskjold Foundation of
Uppsala, Sweden.* "Many and strong vested interests, those of the transnational power
structure and of the local elites-in terms of power, finance and professional complacency
-stand in the way. Therefore the battle will be a fierce one" concludes the editorial. For
"it will be all the harder for those who need and want change, in that ... the press is itself
the tool and the principal exemplification of [information] subservience".
This volume of essays naturally goes beyond the effectual cultural bombardment of
the Western press per se to the role of the entire communications media (both print and
electronic) in Caribbean development. Dr. E. N. Hosein's article, The Problem of Imported
Television Content in the Commonwealth Caribbean, therefore opens the discussions with
an examination of "the situation of dependence" as far as the content of television pro-
grammes is concerned. He does "not dismiss out of hand the threat of cultural annex-
ation resulting on this dependency on imported content". Yet there is the suggestion that
claims of such annexation tend to be exaggerated. The discussion leads to the reasons for
the dependence with due attention given to financial and psycho-cultural constraints. Re-
commendations are in the end volunteered, no doubt in full recognition of the fact that
the world of the communications media is nothing if it is not the world of action.
There are also legal constraints to be considered and in her article Legal Constraints of
the Mass Media in a Caribbean in Transition, Dorcas White draws attention to the colonial
legal heritage which has bequeathed to the Caribbean nations political constitutions guar-
anteeing the right to free expression. But political and other governmental leaders are
"not satisfied that the actions of the media are subject [merely] to the laws of libel. They
are asserting that the press is under duty to commit itself to the support of national
developmental goals whether they are planned within the context of the existing capital-
istic structure or a projected socialist undertaking". Dr. White makes the further signi-
ficant observation that "in the context of the press freedom controversy [which now
rages furiously and frequently throughout the region], the constitutional debate is keen-
est in those territories where national goals are based on socialist policies which seem to
run counter to capitalistic goals". Yet she is forced to comment further that "even in
those territories which appear committed to a constitution of capitalism in its undiluted
form there is deep tension manifesting itself in the passing of laws to control the press".
This, of course, represents nothing that is unique to the Caribbean for the need for a
new international information order is said to be a universal longing among Third World
nations. Even with this however, the ideal of press freedom retains a strong attraction.
Many advocates of fundamental change in the Caribbean would share the view that the
call for a new information order is not intended to replace the monopoly of the trans-
nationals with a monopoly of the national governments, however well-intentioned the
latter might be. The advocacy, in other words, is not for a more restricted press but for a
freer one-one that will meet the need to inform and be informed. Still, no one can pre-
tend that the present situation always affords the reader or listener the facts, as the mis-
information about what has gone on in Vietnam, parts of Africa, China, Cuba and more
recently Jamaica, clearly indicates. A press that lies and misinforms does not deserve to
be free; and the quite healthy global support for freedom of the press may find its great-
est stumbling block in the ingrained traditions of lying and misinformation which have
long cast doubts on the credibility of some of the world's great news agencies. Change in
the wider society will depend then on change within the communications media them-
But change in any form has always met with resistance throughout the ages. In his
article The Mass Media of Communications and Socialist Change in the Caribbean: A Case
Study of Jamaica, Dr. Aggrey Brown examines the nature of this resistance. Since, as he
says, "social reconstruction at minimum implies the redistribution of power within the
society... the ownership structure of the media" and "their functions within our socie-
ties" are of vital importance. Marlene Cuthbert carries forward the debate beyond owner-
ship to the orientation of media content in her article Some Observations on the Role of
the Mass Media in the Recent Socio-Political Development in Jamaica. This is a fitting
companion piece to Dr. James Carty Jr.'s Cuban Communicators which is an abridged
version of a longer paper presented at the Third International Media Conference held at
Pan American University Edinburg, Texas in November, 1976. It is the Cuban experience
that further throws light on the "journalism of commitment" as demonstrated in the
article The Revolutionary Focus of Guillen's Journalism by George Irish. "Guilldn",
according to Dr. Irish, "has developed an approach to journalism that rises above the
mere reporting of melodramatic, sensational scenes and incidents. He is a revolutionary
thinker and a serious analyst, a committed 'pensador' within the Latin-American tradition-
a lover of liberal ideas and principles who is out in search of truth, justice, human under-
standing and human progress".
The passion of the engaged journalist is matched, or even surpassed, only by the
rhetoric of that most ubiquitous of Caribbean mass communicators-the politician. So
Marian McLeod's article, Theme and Form in the Speeches of Norman Manley and Eric
Williams, in illustrating the fact that mass communication is older than the mass media,.
confirms that nothing can replace the face-to-face encounter of talks, speeches and con-
versations, despite the heightened effect of the use of electronics.
In all this the press retains its towering visibility nonetheless, and John Lent's pains-
taking collection of data in The Oldest Existing Newspapers in the Commonwealth Carib-
bean confirms the pedigree of that presence. But the Western press, like the educational
system, the political and economic systems and the religious forms the Caribbean has in-
herited, are all now being questioned not only in the Third World where they have been
among the key instruments of domination but also in their own places of origin where
age and growing disabilities dictate urgent review and reassessment. It would be regret-
table if, in the spirit of colonial mimicry, the Caribbean were to lag a generation or two
behind in coming to grips with the related human problems which need to be tackled
against the background of Caribbean experience and the realities of a post-colonial world.
This may very well be the real challenge of the communications media in the region and
of all those persons who find themselves in the privileged position of having to transmit
knowledge and information in the service of Caribbean development.
*Development Dialogue (2nd Issue, 1976) Uppsala, Sweden.
THE PROBLEM OF IMPORTED TELEVISION CONTENT IN
THE COMMONWEALTH CARIBBEAN
Television was introduced in the Commonwealth Caribbean fourteen years ago with
the establishment in 1962 of the Trinidad and Tobago Television Company Limited
(TTT). One year later the Government of Jamaica established its television service,
JBC-TV, as part of the Jamaica Broadcasting Corporation. Barbados obtained a television
system, CBC-TV, the following year. In 1965 ZAL-TV began its operations in Antigua
and in 1972 ZIZ-TV was set up in St. Kitts-Nevis.
In St. Lucia a booster station operated by the privately-owned St. Lucia Television
Company Ltd. relays the output of CBC-TV, Barbados or ZIZ-TV, St. Kitts-Nevis by way
of a state-owned relay service.
The television services in Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, Barbados, St. Kitts-Nevis and
Antigua are now all state-owned, but except in the case of St. Kitts-Nevis. the services for
the most part were originally operated by foreign private companies, such as Scottish
Television, the National Broadcasting Corporation and the Columbia Broadcasting System.
Television reaches approximately 30 per cent of the homes in Jamaica with a set count
of 110,000; 15 per cent in St. Kitts-Nevis (2,000 sets); 50 per cent Antigua (8,000 sets);
70 per cent Barbados (40,000 sets); 50 per cent Trinidad and Tobago (110,000 sets). All
television operations in the Commonwealth Caribbean are commercial services depending
primarily on advertising revenue as their source of income.
In the early days of television,programme content was almost totally imported. Four-
teen years later the programming situation still reflects an excessive dependence on im-
ported television programmes. This situtaion of dependence is not unique to the Carib-
bean and has become a matter of international concern. The ensuing debate raises such
issues as the cultural integrity of poor nations, the dominant one-way flow of information
from the metropolitan countries to the Third World, and the right of people to communi-
cate via media technology.'
This paper sets out to examine how this situation of dependence developed in the
Caribbean, why it has persisted, why it has to be viewed with concern, and what options
are available for decreasing such dependence.
The analysis is based on the writer's field observations and on information gathered
from television general managers, directors and sales managers in Trinidad and Tobago,
Barbados, Jamaica, St. Kitts-Nevis, Antigua and St. Lucia, during the past five-year period
The situation of dependence
In 1972 a content analysis of television programming of four television stations in the
Commonwealth Caribbean documented the extent of dependence on imported content.2
An imported programme was defined as one produced and recorded outside the Caribbean
region, using outside talent and skills. A local programme was defined as one produced in
the Caribbean region using native talent and skills.
The content analysis did not include broadcast time used for instructional television in
schools by the Ministry of Education. The analysis was concerned with the television con-
tent intended for the mass audience and which is the direct responsibility of the television
station; instructional television broadcasts did not meet these criteria.
Overall, the four television stations in Jamaica, Antigua, Barbados and Trinidad and
Tobago, taken together, had 77 per cent of their weekly programming schedule contrib-
uted by imported content. On an island-by-island basis, Jamaica depended on 73 per cent
of imported programmes, Antigua 85 per cent, Barbados 84 per cent, and Trinidad and
Tobago 72 per cent.
The situation was somewhat'different when one looked at the weekly programming
output during peak-viewing or prime time as defined by the individual stations. Overall,
the percentage of imported programmes was 72 per cent. On an island-by-island basis, in
prime time, Jamaica had 64 per cent of imported programmes; Antigua 69 per cent; Bar-
bados 79 per cent; and Trinidad-Tobago 73 per cent.
A more detailed look at prime time programming showed that were it not for the high,
ly popular news-weather-sports programme, the percentage of locally originated material
would be dismally low. It was evident that there was very little local programming in prime
time other than the news. Without its daily news show, Jamaica had 84 per cent of im-
ported material in prime time; Antigua 89 per cent, Barbados 88 per cent; and Trinidad-
Tobago 91 per cent. Overall, in the Commonwealth Caribbean the percentage of imported
programmes in prime time was 88 per cent, if we exclude the nightly news programme.
An analysis of television programmes four years later in October 1975 showed very
little change. Imported television content accounted for 72 per cent of television program-
ming in Jamaica, 90 per cent in St. Kitts-Nevis, 87 per cent in Barbados and 53 per cent
in Trinidad and Tobago. The situation in prime time was slightly better: 62 per cent Ja-
maica, 90 per cent St. Kitts-Nevis, 84 per cent Barbados and 53 per cent in Trinidad and
Tobago. Further examination of prime time programming again indicated that were it not
for the local news and government information programmes, the percentage of local pro-
duction would be very small. In prime time, without the news and government programme,
Jamaica had 82 per cent imported content, St. Kitts-Nevis 100 per cent, Barbados 97 per
cent and Trinidad and Tobago 81 per cent.3
A qualitative comparison of the programme schedules of 1975 and 1976 indicates no
Reason for concern
This situation of dependence is seen by many, including some television administrators,
as unsatisfactory. Some protest that this influx of alien cultural material undermines at-
tempts to build a Caribbean culture, that it poses a significant threat to Caribbean cultur-
al identity and that it demonstrates to us alien life-styles which result in increasing our
desire for luxuries we cannot afford and do not need. Many international scholars have
cited these arguments under the rubric of "cultural imperialism" or "cultural dependence".
International communication scholar H. I. Schiller writes:
So many difficulties beset the poor nations, the Afro-Asian-Latin American
"have.nots", that it may seem brutal to suggest still another problem they have yet
to face up to. It is not a secondary issue, though, since it concerns the very purpose
of national development as well as the cultural integrity of weak societies whose
national, regional, local or tribal heritages are beginning to be menaced with extinc-
tion by the expansion of modern electronic communications, television in particu-
lar, emanating from a few power centers in the industrialized world.4
Schiller is afraid that local culture everywhere is facing submersion by the mass-
produced outpourings of commercial broadcasting of the United States. What is at stake,
in his view, is the cultural identities of the developing nations.
At an international symposium on the mass media sponsored by the United Nations
Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in June 1970, participants
from Africa, Asia and Latin America expressed alarm over the influence of imported tele-
vision material in their countries. One participant noted the astonishing number of tele-
vision sets, high-fidelity radios and oversize refrigerators counted in a shanty town near
her country's capital. To the participants the most important aspect of imported pro-
gramming was that such alien material neither reflected the values traditionally accepted
by the native audience nor contributed in any way to building the national consciousness
necessary as a base for further progress. On the contrary, it distracted attention from that
goal. As one participant put it, there is a lot of difference between the values shown in
imported television and the values for which his country has so far stood. "What kind of
future generation will we have? We're afraid that the new generation will take over the
bad aspects of our own society and the bad aspects of the developed societies."'
This concern over imported programming is not limited to the developing societies.
The most vocal of the developed countries to express similar views is Canada. As Schiller
observes, Canadians have been waging a losing battle against the American electronic in-
vasion. Sixty per cent of Canadian households are within direct reception of American
transmitters. Their television is dominated by American programming. Schiller admits
that the heavy exposure of Canadian audiences to American radio-television culture is to
some extent a matter of geography.6
Canadian social scientist Arnold Rockman writes:
If personal (and national) identity is acquired and reinforced through communi-
cation and action, then at present there is good reason for a Canadian sense of in-
feriority. Our mass media are largely filled with programmes produced by U.S. net-
works. It makes no difference whether the broadcasting stations are located on
Canadian or U.S. soil.... Most of the available programming for most Canadians
consists of non-Canadian material. Most of this material incorporates U.S. middle-
class values. The media situation in Canada at present is little more than a subliminal
psychic invasion which constitutes a colonial domination in many senses much
more repressive than any type of imperialism known before the rise of the electronic
Rockman sees the new imperialism working through "Bonanza" and soft-drink commer-
cials, through situation comedies, through melodramas and space operas.
Lester Pearson, two days before retiring as Prime Minister of Canada, told the Canad-
ian press that although he is concerned with the industrial, economic and financial pene-
tration from the U.S., he is even more concerned "with the penetration of American ideas,
of the flow of information about all things American, American thought and entertain-
ment, the American approach to everything."8 This theme was repeated in the Canadian
Report of the Royal Commission on Broadcasting of 1957 which stressed the dangers in-
volved in the situation of foreign programme dominance:
As a nation, we cannot accept in these powerful and persuasive media, the natur-
al and complete flow of another nation's culture without danger to our national
identity .... If we want to have radio and television contribute to a Canadian con-
sciousness and sense of identity, if we wish to make some part of the trade in ideas
and culture move east and west across the country, if we seek to avoid engulfment
by American cultural forces, we must regulate such matters as importation of pro-
grammes, advertising content and Canadian production of programmes.9
The 1965 Report of the Committee on Broadcasting, the 1966 White Paper on Broad-
casting, and the 1967 Report on the White Paper on Broadcasting all emphasized the need
for more Canadian content in Canadian media.io Yet another Canadian scholar, Henry
Connor, charges America with destroying not only Canadian television, but Canadian val-
ues and Canadian culture. American television, he wrote, has made the development of a
Canadian cultural identity almost impossible."
Burton Paulu, noted international mass media scholar, describes a similar concern in
Europe over the importation of American telefilms. "The great preponderance of Ameri-
can telefilms has led inevitably to questions about the cultural consequences of foreign
programmes." Paulu reports that there is much discussion of the cultural and educational
effects of entertainment from abroad, so that almost all European broadcasters are under
pressure to curtail if not eliminate such programmes.12
Anthropologist Alan R. Beals, commenting on the popularity in Japan of American
television shows such as I Love Lucy, Rawhide, Our Gang, says:
It seems unlikely that these shows reinforce any Japanese values, unless by accid-
ent. . Television has brought into, in fact transmitted within the Japanese house-
hold, an alien culture. No matter how innocuous and socially meaningless an Ameri-
can play, movie or cartoon may seem to us, it projects a cultural stream of influ-
ence that alters the process and content of cultural transmission in millions of
Given these expressions of concern over the problem of dependence on imported tele-
vision content in many different countries, we can turn specifically to the problem in the
Commonwealth Caribbean. In the Caribbean the problem is seen in the context of other
aspects of dependence on the industrialized, developed (metropolitan) countries. Prime
Minister Eric Williams points out that dependence on the outside world in the Caribbean
is not only economic,
it is also cultural, institutional, intellectual and psychological .... There is still no
serious indigenous intellectual life. The ideological formulations for the most part
still reflect the concepts and vocabulary of nineteenth century Europe and, more
sinister, of the now defunct Cold War ... Literature of world standard and universal
validity has been produced by West Indian writers such as Lamming, Naipaul,
Braithwaite, . and even though in Trinidad and Tobago the steelband and calypso
have emerged, nevertheless artistic, community and individual values are not for the
most part authentic but, to borrow the language of the economist, possess a high
import content, the vehicles of import being the educational system, the mass
media, the li-ns, and the tourists.14
Dr. Williams stta the history of dependence in the Caribbean as a conspiracy to block the
emergence of a Caribbean identity in institutions, in economics, in culture and in values.
He suggests that the way forward for the peoples of the Caribbean must be one which im-
pels them to slqrt making their own history, to be the subjects rather than the objects of
history, to stop oeing the playthings of other people.'I
Lowenthal suggests that submission to external cultural criteria is an inevitable con-
comitant of West Indian political and economic dependence. He quotes Trinidad-Tobago
government planners as being critical of the country's abdication to foreign images and
messages of the communication media.6 With this abdication comes a taste for things
North America)n or European. As Crassweller points out, the television shows in the Com-
monwealth Caribbean show the products and the way of life to which one soon begins to
feel oneself entitled."
One would not dismiss out of hand the threat of cultural annexation resulting from
this dependency on imported content. Yet one would suggest that these claims tend to be
exaggerated. In the Caribbean anything we may identify in our past history which was ex-
pressive of an indigenous culture has long been annexed by the colonialism and imperial-
ism under which these territories have existed.
A generation of West Indians have grown up on the tradition of Hollywood Westerns
but West Indians remain West Indians and not duplicates of John Wayne. The cultural im-
pact of foreign programmes is to be seen as somewhat exaggerated. The impact is perhaps
no greater (and probably less) than the impact of the introduction of electricity, refriger-
ation, and indoor plumbing. Our culture and lifestyle are perhaps affected more by the
aeroplane, tourism, the travels of our civil servants, the return of overseas-trained doctors,
engineers, lawyers and technicians. The lifestyle reflected by the former ruling expatriate
class is an important factor in explaining what consumption standards the society chooses
now to live by.
This is not to deny, however, the possibility of foreign programmes reinforcing already
established consumption-oriented lifestyles. This would be a problem in a society setting
out to establish or sustain characteristics of an indigenous culture which would require
the complete and total isolation of the society from all culture-contact situations for a
period of time. Except for Cuba, no territory in the Caribbean is so oriented, and there-
fore it is an exaggeration to argue about the significant threat to Caribbean culture posed
by imported television content. The argument presents itself as a weak and overly defens-
ive position on which to base a new television policy.
Yet, even if we dispense with the threat of cultural annexation, the excessive depend-
ence on imported content cannot be justified. The communication resource represented
by television belongs to the people of the society in which the resource exists. We cannot
all broadcast because of financial constraints and the limitations of the electro-magnetic
spectrum; there are not enough television channels available for each member of the
society. The ownership and operation of a television service is, therefore, a privilege exer-
cised by a few on behalf of the public as a whole. In the Commonwealth Caribbean the
governments, acting on behalf of the people, own the television systems and accept the
responsibility to use these services in the public interest. The people's "right to com-
municate" is now exercised on their behalf, by those to whom governments entrust the
operations of the medium.
This right to communicate via the technology of television implies access to the
medium. Such access can be direct or indirect as in the case of an intermediary core of
programme producers who produce content expressive of the lives of the public served. In
the present situation of massive dependence on imported content, we have an impertinent
usurpation of the air-waves and of the people's right to communicate. This right must be
seen as having inherent value in the same way that the right to free expression is of value.
It is therefore, on philosophical grounds, the usurpation of a people's right, that one be-
comes concerned about the extensive dependence on imported television content.
In other words, we need not be defensively perturbed by the possible effects of im-
ported content on our culture but we should be concerned when a national right is
abridged. The public needs to be given back its television medium, its broadcast time,
simply because it is theirs. Content expressive of the people's lives would make the
medium theirs. It is on this principle that television policies should be based and not on
exaggerated fears of culture change resulting from imported television.
Reasons for the dependence
If we are to explore ways out of this dependence, we need to examine first how we got
into it. Basically, the answer is that at the time television facilities were being established
no one was seriously concerned with the production of local programmes. Television
stations were set up (in most instances at the request of governments) by international
consortium or multinational corporations, such as the Thomson Group, whose primary
interest was making a profitable return on their investments.
From a profit-making point of view it was not important to create those facilities
necessary for local programme production. The costs involved for equipment, studio
space, training of personnel and talent could not be met by advertising revenue which was
the primary source of income for those stations. Governments intended those operations
to be commercial stations and advertising rates were based on the audience size. The very
small audience size in the early days of television dictated minimal advertising revenue.
Yet the advertising revenue was sufficient to meet the costs of cheaply available imported
programmes. The programmes sold on the international market were programmes which
had already made profits for their production companies and could then be rented at very
minimal rates. A half-hour programme which might have cost U.S.$50,000 to produce
could now be rented on the international market for U.S.$30. It was clear to those who
were setting up television systems that profits would be made only if there was minimal
equipment input, and massive dependence on cheap imported content to fill air-time.
The result was that television systems were installed with the barest of facilities and
second-hand equipment in some situations. Production facilities were kept to a minimum.
Most of the stations were built with a single television studio capable of limited produc-
tions and minimal training was provided for production staff.
In its very beginnings Caribbean television had little, if any, emphasis on local pro-
gramme production. The reason for this lack lay in the realization that it was unprofitable
to emphasize local productions and safer to depend on inexpensive imports.
Fourteen years later the realisation remains. The original television operators have
gone and the governments of the territories now own and operate the facilities. This
change, however, did not alter the financial picture or the economic imperative that the
stations be profitable or, at least, self-supporting. The constraint remains of low profit-
ability or financial loss associated with increased local productions. The criterion for a
successful television service became whether or not the system operated at a profit. The
dependency on easily available and cheap imported content minimized losses and even
afforded the opportunity for profits. An assistant general manager provided the following
illuminating comments in 1972 on the necessity of relying on imported programmes and
the financial difficulty in producing local-national programmes:
The position is this. If you finance a station from commercial revenue, you've
got to deliver an audience. The delivery of that audience is relatively easy if you put
on exciting film programmes. Exciting film programmes cost more money than we
can finance. So that the meat of the revenue-bearing programmes tends to be rented
films which cost about a hundred dollars per hour to rent and use whereas your
programmes produced here, for example, tend to be most popular if they are deal-
ing with current affairs and programmes of that nature cost about four or five times
the cost of a film programme. If you go into variety and if you go into anything
like a drama, you go through the roof, you go ten, twenty, thirty times the costs of
a film programme, without any trouble whatsoever. Particularly if you go out and
do a well-produced film, you can spend a great deal of money.
So the first problem is the relative cost and the second problem is the relative ap-
peal. For example, you can produce a very good programme on a national subject.
It would cost you many thousands of dollars to produce, it would occupy an hour
of screen time and it will not earn more than a couple hundred dollars of advertis-
ing revenue. So you both spend more and earn less.
In a sense it is a problem of advertisers not liking local programmes. An advert-
iser is reassured by the success of a programme elsewhere. So that if you bring in
Marcus Welby with all its Emmy awards, the advertiser feels confident that it will
be popular in the island. If you make a programme in the islands, you have to prove
yourself first, and then you will get advertising . .. Meanwhile you've borne costs
above the costs of an imported programme. So getting advertising support is very
difficult. Many people talk of advertisers being prepared to support things that are
in the national interest. Frankly, most advertising is placed by hard-nosed advertis-
ing agents who look at cost per thousand and if you can't show what your audience
is, they ain't going to buy it.
I would think that somewhere in the region of 50% local programming is prob-
ably obtainable with care if we want to maintain a profit-making situation. As our
audience size increases our revenues from the resulting increased advertising rates
can support more local programmes than would otherwise be the case.'8
This explanation for the extensive dependence on imported content (and, therefore,
for the limited amount of local productions), with some modification and additions, is
today still the dominant justification for the present state of dependency.19 One modifi-
cation is that over the years advertisers have grown less resistant to supporting local pro-
ductions since a few local programmes have emerged as highly popular. Furthermore, in
the monopoly television situation in the Caribbean, viewers generally watch whatever is
programmed provided a certain minimal quality is maintained. An examination of tele-
vision audience surveys in the region suggests that the variable which seems to determine
what viewers watch is the variable of broadcast time. On a day-to-day basis early and late
evening programmes tend to attract less viewers. The middle hours, however, seem to
draw a consistent audience size from what the specific programmes are. Advertisers are
therefore willing now to purchase advertising time in local programmes which have an
acceptable level of audience appeal.
Yet other constraints are raised by television executives. For one thing they argue that
even if advertisers were to purchase all the advertising time available in a half-hour period,
the revenue so derived would still be inadequate to produce a half-hour programme of
In Trinidad and Tobago, the maximum advertising revenue for a half-hour period in
peak-viewing time is approximately U.S.$900. While this may be barely sufficient to pro-
duce a basic non-dramatic variety show, it produces no additional income for the station.
An imported half-hour programme may cost about U.S.$50: this makes for a profit-
Media managers also raise the critical problem of inadequate production facilities. With
single studio operations being used (at no fee) by governments for their information pro-
grammes, by Ministries of Education for instructional broadcasting and by advertisers for
production of commercials, there is little time left for the production of local programmes.
One programme manager describes the facilities problem as follows:
In order to produce television programmes, there must be the equipment and
staff to ensure that basic requirements can be met. An examination of the television
systems in the Caribbean will show that they are inadequately equipped. I television
was introduced in this region primarily for profit. Its objective was to transmit
foreign programmes with a limited amount of locally produced material. The origin-
al construction did not take the future into consideration and so the medium suffers
from inadequate studio-design, insufficient studio-space, and inadequate equipment.
A survey of the production capabilities in the region will reveal the lack of many
pieces of basic production equipment. Production can be done in one of the follow-
ing ways: live, recorded on video-tape, or filmed. The combined resources of the
Caribbean can adequately equip a studio, and individual stations are as yet not fully
prepared to do intricate productions. Some equipment fundamental to the industry
which we lack are lighting facilities with fader-boards. These enhance the mood of
productions. Most stations are installed with only 'on' and 'off' switches. The ab-
sence of video-tape editing equipment increases the pressures on already overcrowd-
ed studio-space. At the present time, faulty segments of recordings are either
accepted or the entire production has to be redone. Video-tape editing equipment
can be used to tighten loose productions and make them more acceptable. There is
also need for better audio mixing equipment to improve the quality of sound and
effect tracks. Film departments are all producing material on a single system, and
even so, there are instances of inadequate dubbing and editing facilities. In all sta-
tions there is awareness of the needs, but the equipment purchase priority and the
lack of funds are the causes of the delay. In order to provide more and better qual-
ity programmes, the fully equipped studio must become reality.20
Media managers further explain that the production difficulties are compounded by
inadequately trained production staff and an inadequate talent resource base for local
programmes.2' Performing talent are generally amateurs who are employed in full-time,
substantive posts. They are therefore not readily available for continuous production and
The reasons suggested by television officials in the Caribbean for the massive depend-
ence on imported content and their perception of the constraints to local production can
be summarized as follows:
The television stations are required by government directives to be profitable or at
least self-supporting. This means maximizing advertising revenue by spending little on
programme costs. Imported programmes cost from five to ten times less than a local
programme. The economic imperative, therefore, leads to the dependence on imported
programmes. Even if they were not concerned with making profits yet depended only on
commercial revenue, the maximum advertising revenue would not allow for considerable
production of good quality local programmes. Television officials argue that there are still
the problems of inadequate production facilities, inadequate production staff, and in-
adequate talent resources.
Television administrators draw a bleak picture. In their view there is no way out of this
extensive dependence on imported content in the present financial and production cir-
The picture, however, is incomplete without the addition of five other constraints
which are not readily perceived by television management. The first is the constraint of
inadequate programming will. It is far easier to coordinate the purchase of imported pro-
grammes than to conceive and produce creative local productions. The piescnt system
functions well with a minimum of effort and maintaining the system as it is becomes a
full-time occupation which demands little creative input. There seems to be some inertia
with respect to the work involved in creating local productions.
The second is television administrators' perception of "good quality local programmes"
or programmes with high audience appeal. Local programmes do not need to duplicate
the glow and glamour of Hollywood, in order to qualify as "good quality local pro-
grammes." Some programme managers complain that the viewing public reinforce this
view of what is "good quality". This may be so but it would seem that the public's com-
plaints about the quality of local productions deal primarily with such items as 'sloppy'
camera work, excessive visual gimmickry, and the poor programme idea itself. These fac-
tors, however, are easily within the control of the production departments.
The third constraint is the belief on the part of some television administrators that
only those within the television establishment are qualified to create and produce pro-
grammes. As a result one expects limited production from limited staff. In actual fact,
television production need not be limited to those within the television organisation
especially if there are others in the community capable of creating local programmes.
Television administrators will need to consider the provision of programming opportuni-
ties for groups and individuals outside the television facility.
The fourth constraint is the belief that good quality programmes require vast sums of
money for production. The consequence of this view is that it inhibits creative thought
since one is led to believe in advance that a good programme idea requires much money.
One ought not to bother with conceiving good programme ideas, then, since there are no
support funds for them. The fact is that many high quality dramatic, dance, and musical
groups function in the Caribbean with minimal financial resources. While it is true that
television production is highly expensive, one ought not to dismiss the possibility that
good programme ideas may not cost vast sums of money.
The fifth constraint is the insularity of the Caribbean islands which deter effective
regional collaboration in such ventures as the regional exchange of television programmes.
Such an exchange would create a larger core of regional-local materials than the current
reliance on only that which can be produced in a single territory. The technical barrier of
incompatible television broadcasts standards which at one time made exchange difficult is
now no longer a problem. The presence in Jamaica of a standards converter enables pro-
grammes produced in the different.islands to be converted to the technical standard of
any of the stations. What is therefore required is the will to collaborate at the regional
level. Unfortunately, the political insularity of the past and present does little for motiv-
ating television administrators to expend the effort required for regional cooperation.
Options for decreasing dependence
With the myriad problems and constraints, one hesitantly asks if there are any options
available for decreasing the dependence on imported television content. Television execu-
tives see no alternative options given the available financial and production resources.
Does that mean that change must come, therefore, from without the system? Or is there
still the possibility of decreasing the dependence within present circumstances with mod-
erate adjustments in thinking, planning, and implementation on the part of television ad-
To answer some of these questions, we need to return to the problems and constraints
identified above. It is obvious that to escape the dependency pattern, we will need to pro-
duce considerably more local programmes in the region. Our task is to find ways to gener-
ate more local productions and our analysis must now involve a closer look at those con-
straints to more local programming.
Our analysis so far suggests that the amount of local television programmes produced
is directly related to available production funds, production facilities, production expert-
ise, performing talent, and programming will. It would be useful to examine each of these
variables in turn, noting their interrelationships in the process.
Television executives suggest that in order to survive as an institution, in order to be
self-supporting if not profit-maximizing, in order to maintain a television service at all in
the Caribbean economies, they must depend on low-cost imported programmes and a
minimum of local productions. They point out that they are at a near zero-margin profit
level and that the systems cannot produce more local productions and remain functional.
There simply is not the revenue to support the expenditures involved in local productions.
To increase local productions, and to maintain the television service calls, therefore,
for additional funds to meet production costs.
If we therefore increase this variable of production funds, we would increase the quan-
tity of local programmes. The question then, is how are we to increase production funds
so that the total burden is not on current advertising revenues which barely support the
One source could be the governments who own these television services. Finding sup-
port from them could take the form of a special local programming subsidy.
On the face of it, it seems reasonable to ask the public to pay for part of their tele-
vision service-local programme origination-out of the public purse via a government sub-
sidy to the television operation. Television officials indicate, however, that governments
are burdened by other more pressing social demands and are not willing to provide such
The other competing demands of society put local television programmes at a lower
end of the priorities. Yet a government subsidy for local programme production is a
legitimate use of public funds for a public service. Perhaps governments may yet be per-
suaded to take television a bit more seriously given its contributory role to development,
and therefore to use some public funds for maintaining the system. This remains, how-
ever, a long-term persuasion process.
In the short term governments may be asked, however, to pay for those production
services now provided without cost for government information programmes. This is un-
likely to happen for the same reason that a subsidy would be unlikely. In addition, as
"owners" of the television service, governments would see it as inappropriate for them to
pay for a service they own, and if they did, it would be seen as a subsidy. Yet it does
seem to put an unfair burden on the stations to have to subsidize government information
programmes which quite correctly should be budgeted for within the relevant Ministry.
One could further suggest a special television tax on the purchase of sets or a television
licence fee on additional revenue for local productions. There are political and administra-
tive consequences of these two recommendations which may make them less likely to be
Are there additional funds available from advertising? Sales managers point out that
television is competing with the older, established media of newspapers and radio for the
nationally available advertising revenue. The "advertising cake" is not getting any larger
and is, in some cases, diminishing as business activity declines. Yet in some territories, one
may be able to secure a bit more advertising revenue, according to two sales managers.
While advertisers might be willing to support local programmes by purchasing time
within them they are not yet willing to meet on a regular basis the total production costs
for such programmes. And in some of those situations when they do, it is done as a public
service. Perhaps there is the possibility of encouraging more advertisers to contribute to
production costs as an act of social responsibility and as a form of institutional advertis-
ing rather than product advertising.
One untried source of production money is the audience itself via various social organ-
isations, trade unions, professional associations, and community groups. These groups
may be able to mobilize sufficient funds for the production of local programmes they
wish to produce in conjunction with the regular television production staff. This, of
course, means changing the administrative orientation to programme production and to
providing television access to the people of a country. The experience of Britain, Yugo-
slavia and cable television systems in Canada and the United States are worthy of examin-
ation in this respect.22 One should not ignore, however, the political and administrative
consequences of such access programmes.
Yet another approach to increasing production funds would be the pooling of resources
at the regional level. If the three major television stations were to pool the funds they
would normally spend on an imported programme plus what they spend on a local drama-
tic or non-dramatic programme, there would be sufficient funds altogether for the pro-
duction of three regionally oriented programmes which would draw advertising revenue
from the three islands rather than the present system of using one-third the regional funds
for a single programme for one island drawing advertising revenue from a single market.
This regional approach to maximizing "production funds" requires, however, a level of
regional cooperation which may not be readily found among these islands of the region
steeped in their insipid insularity.
We have not identified any simple vast resource of additional funds but we have sug-
gested some sources from which we may obtain new funds for more local production.
Furthermore, if we can escape the orientation that good programmes are always expens-
ive programmes, we may find we have the financial resources to do considerably more
Increasing production facilities would contribute to increased local productions since
present facilities are apparently being used at their maximum level. The task of increasing
production facilities does not necessarily mean, however, building additional facilities, al-
though this would be useful. Given the minimal financial base on which the television sys-
tems operate, it is unlikely they would find the resources for expanding studio facilities.
Governments are reluctant to invest any further in television expansion and so one must
look elsewhere for solutions.
One solution may lie in maximizing the use of present facilities by increasing the
efficiency of production. Much studio time is spent on preparatory production work
which ought to have been done outside the studio. More efficient use of television studios
would, in a sense, therefore lead to some increase in production facilities.
Some television officials point out that considerable studio time is spent on producing
television commercials. This exercise is profitable both in terms of revenue from studio
rental fees and from the actual commercials when used on television. One would not ad-
vocate that such use of studio facilities be stopped (given the commercial basis of tele-
vision), but would suggest that the amount of time so used, be reduced. Advertising
agencies and advertisers should be able to find or set up on their own production facilities
for the production of commercials. In some islands such facilities already exist for film
Production facilities can be expanded even more extensively if the total environment
becomes a television studio. This would mean producing television programmes outside
the studio walls. With the availability of inexpensive portable video and Super 8mm film
equipment and mobile television units, one can expand production facilities considerably.23
If we adopt the idea of providing the community access to television, then more pro-
grammes can be produced within communities and from public auditoriums used for a
variety of social purposes.
This variable of production facilities can therefore be increased. The increase will come
essentially from a reconsideration of the environment on which television programmes
can be produced and the kind of production necessary for such use. The increase may not
be dramatically extensive but it would create more opportunities for local programming.
An improvement in the quality of production staff would greatly enhance the quality
and quantity of locally produced programmes. An increase in production expertise can be
achieved by way of training of present staff and better recruitment of future staff.
The University of the West Indies Institute of Mass Communications is committed to
training of media personnel and is willing to assist television stations in planning and im-
plementing in-service training programmes in addition to its on-going campus-based train-
ing. The provision of training therefore, is not a problem.
Poor recruitment of production staff, however, makes training difficult and may even
lead to a lack of creativity in the formulation of local programme ideas. The creation of
personnel departments within television stations could contribute significantly to the
proper recruitment and training of production staff, and to the maintenance of high
morale necessary for the concerted and efficient group action involved in television work.
Such departments could also serve to maintain better relations between unionized staff
and management, which have implications for local productions.
In addition, if television administrators were to reconsider the notion that television
programmes must be produced by in-house television staff, they would find that there are
a variety of creative personnel outside the television organisation who are capable of (or
who can be trained for) producing television programmes.
Furthermore, if television is made accessible to the public, we expand both the concept
and quantity of "production expertise".
The variable of "performing talent" is important to the increased production of local
programmes. Talent is not a static quality; it springs from the variety of creative oppor-
tunities available in the society. So while television needs talent, television also creates its
own. So the increased activity of television stations in local performing will stimulate a
concomitant increase in the core of performing talent.
The perceived constraint of limited performing talent is based on North American and
European conceptions of popular talent. Again, if we adopt the strategy of public access
to television we would have multiplied the resource of performing talent to the total com-
munity. In a developing situation, one cannot be bound to concepts of talent which allow
television exposure to the elite few who can copy or meet the performing standards of
the metropolitan society.
The problem that performing talent is available only for short periods after regular
work hours is an inhibiting factor. Yet, it may be possible to persuade employers to give
time off for some workers to be involved in preparatory production work in the same
way that such time is given for participation in national sporting activities.
Performing talent has to be nurtured in the Caribbean; exposure and criticism will aid
in the process. To claim, however, that there is a scarcity of talent is to deny the very
visible display of creativity in the theatre, poetry, dance, music, art, comedy and folk
activity of the Caribbean people. Perhaps the available talent are not attuned to the per-
forming requirements of television but this is merely a matter of learning from exposure.
One ought not to reach so quickly the conclusion that we have limited talent.
We would suggest that the variable of performing talent is perhaps the easiest to in-
crease. The process, however, may involve an active search, patience, and a rethinking of
what is talent on the part of television administrators.
"Programming will" is an elusive variable and one which is itself a function of other
variables such as personnel management within television organizations, commitment to
providing a public service, policy interest shown by the owners (governments) in the oper-
ations of the television station, and the insularity of these island-states in the region.
To increase "programming will" one essentially is concerned with increasing motiv-
ation for local productions so that there exists the energy and creative resource for the
arduous work involved in local programming. The process involves a combination of
moral persuasion, effective personnel management and perhaps legislative or administra-
Moral persuasion consists of making television administrators conscious of their pro-
gramming responsibility in the national interest. Most of them are already persuaded of
the need for more indigenous television content; it is now a matter of reinforcing their
consciousness through on-going discussions, seminars and workshops.
Effective personnel management would provide for adequate training, and mainten-
ance of high morale in the work situation. Legislative or administrative coercion involves
the establishment, through legislative or administrative procedures, of a limit on the per-
centage of imported programmes on television. One can establish a quota of local produc-
tions to be achieved within a fixed number of years. The Canadian experience suggests
that the establishment of such a quota system did lead to a dramatic increase in local pro-
grammes when previously it was thought to be an impossible task. The established quota,
however, should be reasonable but not bound by what only television administrators say
Legislative or administrative coercion can also be useful in stimulating the "program-
ming will' for maximizing local productions at the regional level. When senior administra-
tors and government officials are seriously committed to the idea of regional exchange or
regional production of programmes then such regional activity will take place. The con-
sequence would be an increase in indigenous programming.
In the course of analysing the variables related to local programme production, we
touched on a number of possibilities for increasing those factors related to expanded local
productions. No easy single solution presents itself. The approach to the problem must
therefore be multi-pronged. Yet one must recognize the inherent difficulties in changing
any of the related factors. The presence of implementation difficulties, however, ought
not to deter consideration of a recommendation. There will always be barriers to change;
one must adopt strategies which minimize difficulties.
Our overview of the situation of dependence suggests that we are not in a static system.
The variables related to local programme production can be altered if appropriate actions
are taken. While we may understand and sympathise with the financial constraints of the
television systems, we can not so easily resign ourselves to the presumed inevitability of
extensive dependence on imported television content. With imagination, effort, and "pro-
gramming will" we can find options which would allow for some increase in the quantity
of local productions. We may not achieve the elegance and gloss of Europe or North
America but we would have begun the process of creating our own aesthetic.
The recommendations below are suggested not as absolute measures which would guar-
antee programming change but as incremental steps which can be taken to alter the pre-
sent situation of dependence. They are derived essentially from our earlier analysis and as
a result no extensive explanations would be added.
(1) Governments should provide a subsidy or special fund for local programme produc-
tion. Stations cannot now generate adequate revenue on their own for the purposes of
local production given the limited advertising revenue available. In order to maintain the
television systems they can use only limited funds for local productions. Additional pro-
ductions will need to be funded from without the system. The public, via government,
can be asked to meet some of the costs of local programming.
The government special fund may be drawn either from income tax revenue or from a
special tax on television sets or television licence fee. Some countries already have one or
both sources of revenue but in some situations the revenue goes into total national
revenues and are not siphoned off for television development.
(2) Those stations preoccupied with the task of maximizing profits should review this
policy and determine what would be a desirable profit margin for maintenance of the sys-
tem. Profits beyond this should be directed into the Special Fund for local programme
production. This increases the amount of production funds available for indigenous pro-
(3) Additional advertising revenue may be squeezed from the advertising market. One
is not assured of considerable increase but with a bit more activity on the part of the sales
personnel we may be able to acquire a slight increase which in effect adds to our Special
Fund for local productions.
(4) Television administrators should undertake a campaign to encourage advertisers to
provide local production funds as a form of institutional advertising and service to the
community. With more business corporations becoming sensitive to their social respons-
ibility, not all their activities are intended to be profit-maximizing. Additional production
funds can be raised in the process. Again, this is not a measure from which vast sums are
to be expected but is a step towards increasing the total funds available for production.
(5) Caribbean governments should, through the CARICOM Secretariat, contribute to a
Regional Fund for Programme Production. The Fund would be administered by the
Secretariat but will be made available to agencies such as the Caribbean Broadcasting
Union (CBU), the Caribbean Publishing and Broadcasting Association, government film
units, individual television stations, the University of the West Indies, Christian Action for
Development (CADEC), and other agencies, for the production of regional programmes.
CBU in close cooperation with the CARICOM Secretariat would be responsible for the
distribution of regional programmes.
(6) Caribbean television stations should also contribute to the Regional Fund lor Pro-
gramme Production. The contribution would essentially be a portion of those funds
normally used for local programme production. Tie pooling of such funds would allow
for a greater number of programmes to be produced for regional distribution compared to
the same national funds being used to produce only for one island-state.
(7) Caribbean television systems should undertake a more systematic exchange of local
productions suitable for regional viewing. The existing support services of CBU should be
used more efficiently for such exchange operations. The possibility of using the techno-
logy of video cassettes for recording and distribution would make an exchange system less
cumbersome. Such exchange would contribute to the quantity of local-regional pro-
grammes available for broadcast. This would mean that some local production ought to
have a possible regional audience in mind during the production process. Television ad-
ministrators agree that some form of exchange is possible but there is reluctance to
institutionalize this exchange.
(8) Government film units should also participate in a more systematic way in the ex-
change of appropriate national films for regional viewing. The exchange of such films can
also be coordinated through CBU. Such exchange has been carried out in the past but
now needs to be made more intensive and systematic.
(9) Television stations in the Caribbean should provide, in an organised way, access to
television facilities and broadcast time for a wide range of social, community organisa-
tions who would come to the television service with funds, programme ideas and talent.
In combination with the specialised production skills of the station, creative and interest-
ing indigenous production could emerge. Television, in the final analysis, is a scarce public
resource, it belongs to the people. While it may be managed, owned and operated by a
select few, the public retains the right to communicate via the technology of the tele-
vision medium and should have access to those facilities. There is nothing inherent in the
television systems we have which says that only content designed by those within the sys-
tem should be broadcast. The closed-shop posture of some Caribbean television opera-
tions usurps the public's right to the medium.
The type of television programming being recommended, access television (efficiently
organised), would contribute significantly to an increase in local programming and less
dependence on imported content..
(10) Increased local production will depend on the availability of production facilities.
In relation to the new type of access television programming, governments should con-
sider the establishment of additional production facilities which would be operated and
used only for the production of access programmes. This should be considered a public
service, paid for from public funds. Such operations can be self-supporting but unlikely to
be profit-maximizing. They would supplement the existing television studios which are al-
ready being used at a maximum level.
(11) Television stations should direct attention to the more efficient use of studio
facilities so that there can be additional production for more local programmes. Less
time, perhaps, should be spent on producing commercials. Other commercial production
enterprises in the society can absorb the production work thus released.
(12) Television stations should consider the greater use of the total environment as a
studio and move beyond the traditional studio walls. The availability of inexpensive port-
able video and film equipment allows for the natural environment to be used more effect-
ively for production purposes. This has obvious implications for increased local pro-
(13) Community groups and other social organizations should be encouraged to use port-
able video and inexpensive film equipment for the production of access programmes. This
avoids the problem of limited studio production facilities and increases the potential for
more local programmes.
(14) Increased local productions will depend to some extent on the availability of pro-
duction expertise. Television stations in collaboration with the University of the West
Indies Institute of Mass Communications should organise an on-going series on in-service
training programmes in television production for old and new staff. These training pro-
grammes would be in addition to the Institute's campus-based training courses.
(15) To increase still further the core of production expertise for more local pro-
grammes, the UWI Institute of Mass Communications in cooperation with the UWI Extra-
Mural Departments should provide short training programmes for the general public in
those writing, performing and production skills necessary for television production. There
is no reason why those skills should be restricted to a select few. ALn invalid mystique has
developed around television production. There is no reason why the necessary basic skills
cannot be developed among a wide cross-section of the community.
(16) Caribbean television stations should establish within their organizations personnel
departments for more effective recruitment and training of staff and for maintaining
group morale in the production process. Better qualified staff and higher worker morale
have important implications for increased local productions.
(17) Firm administrative and legislative action should be taken to increase the percent-
age of local programmes. This may mean the legal imposition of a quota on imported
content. The presence of such a directive would stimulate activity designed to increase
All the above recommendations presume that the television stations continue to
depend on advertising revenue as a primary source of revenue. There is, however, a final
recommendation not based on this presumption.
(18) Governments may choose to make the television operations non-commercial and
treat them as public services to be financed by public funds. In this way the stations
would be provided with the funds necessary for local programming and would not have to
do battle with the vagaries of the commercial world and the resulting dependence on im-
There is always the tendency to simplify the dilemma faced by television managers and
programme directors in their attempts to maintain a television service and yet produce in-
digenous material. This analysis is not intended to treat the problem in cavalier fashion.
The recommendations above, however, may suggest small steps in the difficult process of
freeing Caribbean television from the vicious cycle of dependence on imported content.
In the history of television we are infants and for infants small steps require concerted
EVEROLD N. HOSEIN
[This study was funded in part by a travel grant from the University of the West Indies
Research and Publications Committee.
1. See Kato, Hidetoshi, "Global Instantaneousness and Instant Globalism." Media Asia, Vol. 2,
No. 3, (1975), pp. 157-160; Intermedia, No. 3 (1973), pp. 2-4, 10-11, 19, on the trade in tele-
vision; Media Asia Vol. 2, No. 2, (1975), pp. 69-121, on information imbalance in Asia; Read,
William H., "Global TV Flow-Another Look," Journal of Communication, Vol. 26, No. 3,
(Summer 1976), pp. 69-73; Nordenstreng, Kaarle and Varis, Tapio, Television Traffic-A One-
Way Street? (Paris: UNESCO, 1974)
2. Hoscin, E., An Exploratory Study of the Significance and Feasibility of a Regional Television
Programming System for the Commonwealth Caribbean, 1973, (Unpublished dissertation),
University Microfilms, Ann Arbor, Michigan, pp. 32-41.
3. Hosein, E., "Commonwealth Issues in the Commonwealth Caribbean," COMBROAD No. 31,
(April-June 1976), pp. 8-14.
4. Schiller, Herbert I., Mass Communication and American Empire, (Boston: Beacon Press, 1971),
5. Burnett, Mary, The Mass Media in a Violent World, (Paris: UNESCO, 1970), p. 33.
6. Schiller, op. cit., p. 113.
7. Rockman, Arnold, "Communication, Culture Change, Canada," in Social and Cultural Change
in Canada, ed. by Mann, p. 295.
8. Peers, Frank, "Oh Say, Can You See?" in Social and Cultural Change in Canada, ed. by Mann,
9. Canadian Radio-Television Commission, Annual Report 1969-1970 (Ottawa: Queen's Printer,
1970), Appendix IV, p. 3.
10. Report of the Committee on Broadcasting, Fowler, R. M., Chairman, (Ottawa: Queen's Printer,
1965); Secretary of State, White Paper on Broadcasting (Ottawa: Queen's Printer, 1966);
Stanbury, Robert, Chairman. House of Commons Study Committee on Broadcasting, Film and
Assistance to the Arts, Report on the White Paper on Broadcasting 1966 (Ottawa: Queen's
11. Comor, Henry, "American TV: What have You Done to Us?" Television Quarterly, VI (Winter,
12. Paulu, Burton, Radio and Television Broadcasting on the European Continent, (Minneapolis:
University of Minnesota Press, 1967), pp. 216, 242.
13. Beals, Alan R., Culture in Process (New York: Holt, Rinehardt and Winston, 1967), p. 171.
14. Williams, Eric, From Columbus to Castro: The History of the Caribbean 1492-1969 (London:
Andre Deutsch, 1970), pp. 500-502.
15. Ibid., pp. 503-504.
16. Lowenthal, David, West Indian Societies (London: Oxford Uniersity Press, 1972), p. 245.
17. Crassweller, Robert D., The Caribbean Community. Changing Societies and U.S. Policy, (New
York: Praegar Publishers, 1972), p. 192.
18. Personal interview, May 1972.
19. Muhammad, Farouk, "Television Programme Production and Exchange in the English-Speaking
Caribbean", in Communications and Information for Development Purpose in the Caribbean
Area (London: International Broadcast Institute), pp. 60-73; John, Eustace, "An Examination
of Problems in Local Television Production in St. Kitts, (Unpublished paper), Institute of Mass
Communications, University of the West Indies, Mona, Jamaica, 1976; Whylie, Dwight, "The
Future of the Jamaica Broadcasting Corporation", COMBROAD, No. 27, April 1975, pp. 13-18.
20. Muhammad, Farouk, op. cit.
22. Sec Hawkins, John, "The Best Way to Open Television's Door", Intermedia, March 1973; pp.
5-7; Maletzke, Gerhard, "Participation in Mass Communication", Media Asia, Vol. 2, No. 3,
1975, pp. 165-168; Martelanc, Tomo, "Self-Government in Broadcasting". Intermedia, No. 4,
1973, pp. 4-5.
23. Sec Ross, Rodger, "Television Programme Production with Film-A Practical Approach."
COMBROAD, No. 31, April 1976, pp. 23-27.
LEGAL CONSTRAINTS AND THE ROLE OF THE MASS MEDIA
IN A CARIBBEAN IN TRANSITION
A discussion confined to the legal constraints on the press is a clear invitation to deal
with law to the exclusion of the fundamental problems facing the mass media2 in a region
which appears to be in a state of political, social and ideological transition.' This is so be-
cause the law exerts a disappearing influence on fundamental social and political issues.
This inherent capacity for obscuring tensions while purporting to aid in their resolu-
tion is traceable to the existing paraphernalia of legal definitions and procedure which,
while they may be of use, are basically designed to denaturise social and other issues by
imposing on them a one-dimensional aspect. It is only when this denaturisation is ac-
complished that a tribunal trained only in rules of law can confidently assume competence
over matters the substance of which is far removed from that of legal rules.
The law of necessity exerts this disappearing influence because its rules are not de-
signed to get at the root of, and eliminate social problems. The rules are there as aids to
be used by tribunals when dealing with isolated incidents which may trace their causes to
many deeper social problems.5
It is possible, therefore, to view the laws governing the mass media not as rules provid-
ing clear and ascertainable solutions to problems, but as aids towards reaching a compro-
mise in the face of the tension which arises between the demand for free expression on
the one hand, and on the other the claims made in the interest of public order, public
morality, individual reputation and other legally recognized competing interests.
The existence of laws governing press operation is clear evidence of the existence of
this tension. In fact the constitutions of most independent and semi-independent Com-
monwealth Caribbean countries capture the tension as graphically as possible by provid-
ing in the same section a freedom of expression clause followed by a derogation clause.
With the exception of Trinidad where press freedom is separately guaranteed6 many Con-
stitutions provide as follows.-
"Except with his own consent, no person shall be hindered in the enjoyment of his
freedom of expression, and for the purpose of this section the said freedom includes
the freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart ideas and information with-
Nothing contained in or done under the authority of any law shall be held to be
inconsistent with or in contravention of this section to the extent that the law in
question makes provision
(a) which is reasonably required
(i) in the interest of defence, public safety, public order, public morality or
public health; or
(ii) for the purpose of protecting the reputations, rights and freedoms of other
persons, or the private lives of persons concerned in legal proceedings. .."7
persons, or the private lives of persons concerned in legal proceedings. ..
It must be noted that no express mention is made of the 'press' or 'press' freedom. The
fact that "freedom of expression" is interpreted to include the "freedom to receive and
impart ideas and information without interference" should be conclusive evidence that
"freedom of the press" is part of the right of free expression. This freedom is another
name for the right enjoyed by a single individual or collection of individuals "to impart
ideas and information" although it is done in a more organised manner and on a grander
scale by the use of print and electronic media. In this way "the capability for collecting,
and disseminating information is far greater than that of the individual acting on his
own". In addition the scope for influencing opinion is equally tremendous.
Notwithstanding the augmented aspect of the right to free expression when considered
in the context of the mass media, it is clear that the law accords the press no higher right
than that enjoyed by the individual citizen.9 This is the case, even where freedom of the
press is expressly guaranteed. This express guarantee affords the press no substantive ad-
vantage. However, it is a constitutional recognition of the significance of the press as an
important social institution.'1 Another merit of specific mention lies in the fact that it
puts the constitutional status of the press beyond argument and precludes the objection
that the right to free expression is guaranteed only to natural persons and not corpora-
It is important to note that many people in the independent countries have taken the
constitutional guarantees seriously. They have asserted their rights against governmental
encroachments. They have demanded justification for their abridgment, redress from the
courts in accordance with the literal interpretation of the Constitutions, and undertakings
that legislature and the executive refrain from future infringement.12
But within 10 years after independence and while the people are getting more and more
conscious of their rights the fire of 19th century libertarian principles, kindled at inde-
pendence, has gone out in the breasts of the fathers of the peoples' Constitutions."3 Herein
lies the deep constitutional dilemma.
It is a dilemma because while some political leaders are challenging'" the relevance of
the constitutional principles which they had presented to their people as the charter for
securing democratic government, members of the public are challenging the position of
these leaders and citing the law as their authority.
The confrontation is illustrated by excerpts from the speeches of a Guyanese politician
and a Guyanese journalist on the topic of press freedom.
With obvious reference to the Guyana Constitution a political leader is quoted as
"As much as we might like, we cannot simply import the libertarian ideas and con-
cepts of press freedom first voiced by men like Descartes, Locke and Milton, into
countries such as ours without examination .." 4
The journalist, on the other hand, was affirming his faith in the law governing the press in
his country. He expressed the belief that
"the media (in Guyana) still has a great measure of freedom.... It is part of the
packet of Fundamental Rights, which inheres in the national Constitution . ." i
He conceded however that the press was subject to legal restraints-"the laws of defam-
ation-libel, slander and so on ... ."'6 and continued to assert that as far as he was aware
"[the] constitutional and legal constraints are the only ones which recognisably
und properly dictate the content of the local media. That, as I see it, is the legal
position. . ."
In another part of the Caribbean ~ a political leader was implying that these traditional
legal limitations leave the press with too wide a field of action. He is quoted as saying:-
"The freedom for people to write . .whatever they feel to write, even given the
limitations in metropolitan countries that provided you don't libel people and pro-
vided you don't write sedition and provided you are not scurrilous ..."
is an arid right which cannot be accomModated in the Caribbean frame of reference.'9
At present the main issue seems to revolve around the definition of the role of the mass
media in developing societies. Secondary to this, is the question of the adequacy of the
present law as an instrument for delimiting the boundaries of proper reporting and effect-
ively controlling the media.
These are important issues because they stem from the fact that Caribbean political
leaders have appreciated that "the media have become a most influential factor on citi-
zens' opinion and the regulation uses or abuses of media are important considerations
within the State"20 These leaders are not satisfied that the actions of the media are
subject only to the laws of libel. They are asserting that the press is under a duty to com-
mit itself to the support of national developmental goals whether they are planned within
the context of the existing capitalistic structure or a projected socialist undertaking.21
This is a constitutional question according to whether commitment to national goals is
defined so as to restrict what can be said about a government's policy. It is a constitution-
al question because, if indeed commitment to national goals is a restriction, those who
view the role of the press as subject only to legal restrictions will inevitably look to the
law for guidance on this matter2. This legalistic approach cannot be condemned without
due consideration because the law would serve no purpose if men did not take cognisance
of it in planning their affairs.
Secondly, the Constitution would be reduced to nothing if it did not compel the con-
fidence of the people in whose name it was promulgated, and on whose behalf the safe-
guards were entrenched. This confidence is the basis for reliance on its provisions.
Thirdly, the integrity and credibility of the drafters would be seriously impaired if it
could be said that the safeguards entrenched in the Constitution should not be interpret-
ed in accordance with the interpretation which had captured popular support at the time
The legalist would conclude that with respect to any limitation not recognized by the
Constitution the government is morally and legally stopped from adding a condition
which reduces that limited sphere of freedom which is constitutionally guaranteed.
But it must be noted that confidence in the law is a luxury which can only be afforded
by those whose interest the law recognizes and protects. This statement is not restricted
to the constitutional debate over press freedom but applies wherever the law exerts a con-
trolling influence.4owever in the context of the press freedom controversy, the constitu-
tional debate is keenest in those territories25 where national goals are based on socialist
policies which seem to run counter to capitalistic goals. But even in those territories which
appear committed to a continuation of capitalism in its undiluted form,26 there is deep
tension manifesting itself in the passing of laws to control the press.
A regional survey will disclose two approaches to regulation of the media:
(1) Where law is being used to add new restraints 27
(2) Where non-legal methods are being used.28
Antigua, Grenada and St. Kitts-Nevis-Anguilla have recently passed laws imposing new
restrictions on the press, more specifically newspapers. The laws of Antigua29 and Gren-
ada30 which provide for relatively excessive licence fees and deposits prior to registration,
evidence a lack of understanding of the true nature of the problem facing these countries.
They are restricted to making provision for satisfying judgment debts for libel, should a
newspaper be sued and judgment is given in favour of the plaintiff.30 They do not touch
that aspect of the problem which is subterraneous to the law and pertains to the imposi-
tion of restrictions on a perfectly legal preoccupation: the media's role as general critic of
the government and unofficial ombudsman.1
In St. Kitts, the true nature and scope of the problem had been perceived and openly
articulated by that country's Attorney-General long before it was recognized in either
Guyana or Jamaica.32
St. Kitts has attempted to deal with the problem by legislation33of a type different
from those of Antigua and Grenada. Guyana has opted for government ownership and
in Jamaica there appears to be a commitment to the use of 'moral suasion'.34 In these
three territories governmental action is based on a repudiation of the traditional role of
the media and an attempt to impose a re-definition of this role within the context of the
It is necessary now to examine the role of the press as seen by those committed to the
ideal of press freedom.
The role of the press is dedicated to the performance of the following functions: in-
form, entertain, act as unofficial ombudsman,37 and to make profits for the owners.38 The
first three functions are to be performed bearing in mind the overriding economic func-
tion. The telescoping of these functions is nowhere better recognized and illustrated than
in a recent Advocate-News editorial where it was asserted that a newspaper's responsibility
to the community is subject to the overriding
"responsibility the editor has to ... his publisher [and] to the shareholders." 38
It must be noted that in theory39 the press in the Caribbean is viewed as having a role
identical with the press operating in metropolitan centres.4 This is not surprising in view
of the fact that the thought patterns of our people have been the result of an education-
al process designed to foster a certain type of community ethos foreign to our conditions,
our legal culture is structured on rules of law fashioned for use in other countries; and our
economic systems are appendages of foreign systems and the press forms part of this
economic system which it supports. In addition, the constitutions were designed to secure
the continued domination of foreign paradigms.41
Consequently the necessity for a re-appraisal of the role of the press in the context of
West Indian underdevelopment has never occurred to the traditional press.42 Indeed, it is
considered a heresy to argue that any definition of press freedom must be relative to the
environment within which the freedom is to operate. Hidden in this suggestion is the
statement that there ought to be a different standard set for the press in the Caribbean.
More crudely stated, the implication is that the press in the Caribbean should be less free
than the press in England or the United States. Supporters of traditional43 press freedom
find this objectionable4 They find such a suggestion objectionable even if it is couched
in terms of "constructive and creative" reporting or having "developmental perspectives",
or there must be a redefinition of what is news or the need for "responsible journalism"
or development support communication. Such language is interpreted as asking all news-
papers to adopt a perpetually pro-government stance.46
It is at this stage when certain factors are examined that certain great contradictions
will emerge into the light. After the contradictions are identified it may be easier to deter-
mine that there could be merit on both sides. The question must necessarily be asked:
how can any Caribbean government secure commitment to development goals in the face
of any one, or a combination of the following:
With respect to the press
(a) the press commitment to the traditional position that the law defines the
media's sphere of action and after subtracting what is defamatory, obscene,
seditious, contemptuous47 etc. the constitution guarantees absolute freedom
albeit in a restricted sense.
(b) Private ownership of newspapers and the profit motive48
(c) The multi-party system and party organs49
(d) ideological commitment to foreign paradigms-personnel professionally
educated in metropolitan centres.*
(e) the role of the press as a kind of unofficial ombudsman.90
(f) the recent success scored by the U.S.A. press with respect to Watergate.51
With respect to the institution of government as known in the region from time im-
(a) Little evidence of practical commitment to greater responsibility; collective
and individual integrity; responsiveness to community needs;
(b) A history acquainted with unfulfilled promises
(c) intolerance of criticism and allegations of victimisation
(d) public business has been shrouded in secrecy; no use of the press in terms of
development support communication
The press, with one or two isolated instances, has been very law-abiding. This law-abiding
nature is directly related to the fact of foreign ownership where it exists and the all-
pervasive commitment to foreign professionalism. Except where a newspaper can be cate-
gorised as the organ of an opposition political party, its economic function precludes its
functioning as an unofficial ombudsman to the community it serves.
A distinction has to be made between newspapers that are profit-oriented and those
that are propaganda-oriented.53 The first category comprises businesses which have "no
more interest in the community than the producers of any other product". 4 They sell
news and advertisement and their editorials draw attention to unsafe roads, walls, high
taxes, inadequate housing facilities, unemployment problems, illiteracy and other issues.. .,,s
The riskier business of investigative reporting is carefully avoided. However, self-interest
forces these newspapers to impose the severest form of self-censorship.56
The party organs have censored themselves to the extent where the line between bias
and inaccuracy becomes blurred. Their self-censorship is equally grounded in self-interest.
However, their continued existence is a sign of the continuation of the two-party system.
But there is nothing illegal about self-censorship. Indeed the stringency of the laws on
defamation imposes a measure of self-censorship over and above what is required to keep
within the bounds of the law.57 The point which is being emphasised is the fact that the
press in the Caribbean has not been functioning in the public interest. Class and party
interestss8 have more often than not been the motivating factors. It is therefore a contra-
dictory position to invoke the public interest which has been disserved in support of a
freedom which has been forfeited by self-censorship and disuse.
Another contradiction is that while the press finds the call for redefinition in terms of
Caribbean perspectives objectionable, in practice a redefinition has already been accom-
plished. It cannot be seriously argued that press freedom in the Caribbean is the same as
it obtains in the U.K. or U.S.A. Another contradiction is here revealed: if the independent
press has been minding its business why the widespread attempt to redefine a role which
has already been redefined?
But is time being wasted in the arena? Where is the constitutional debate? These are
valuable questions for a variety of reasons: Firstly questions of law have a way of reced-
ing when the fundamental issues are being examined. Secondly a conclusion can be stated
in the following terms:
a newspaper which has imposed upon itself a policy of rigorous self-censorship for
reasons which converge on economic self-interest has little to complain about when
government imposes such a role on it.
Thirdly there is no question of constitutional law when what is in issue is actual or threat-
ened political brute force.
The basis for objection will however become clear when it is realized that the role
some governments are inviting the media to adopt, though qualitatively similar to their
present role, may be protective of other interests not identical with tie narrow interests
which were hitherto exclusively served.
This is the heart of the matter when one is dealing with the role of the press in a society
which is in transition from capitalism to socialism, and when one considers that the press59
represents the views "of a small minority who have a monopoly on economic surplus pro-
duced in the society."60
However, the fact that the press never fulfilled its role as guardian of the public inter-
est either because of self-interest,61 or the fact that it had equated its interest with the
interest of the majority of people, does not signify that it cannot repent and face up to its
responsibility. But will it get that second chance?
People in this region have been taught by history to be wary of verbal commitments to
greater responsibility, and collective and individual integrity62 in government. Although
the press, mainly but not solely out of fear of actions for defamation never did much to
bring this to popular awareness, whatever little was done, was often greeted by unfavour-
able governmental reaction. Governments only tolerate constructive criticism and critic-
ism of government is not constructive by the very fact of being criticism of the government.
Another major contradiction seems to lie in the fact of repudiation63 of a constitution
after having tendered it for popular acceptance. If it is assumed that genuine belief in the
provision has given way to an overriding genuine belief in the present irrelevance, then the
contradiction while not disappearing is not as menacing.
So there is fault on both sides. But the press can pray in aid the law64 in stating its
case. It can choose to assert that the governments' requirement of development support is
undermining of its watchdog function 6 and so can have far-reaching implications for the
public welfare and as such, is unconstitutional.
The governments can assert that their position is based on the recent discovery that
the constitutions as charters for the maintenance of capitalism represent a mistaken view
of how to achieve the national goals. Therefore, reliance on constitutional rights is
reliance on outmoded theories.
Indeed the governments' argument can be buttressed by the assertion that the constitu-
tional rights are enjoyed by all as a matter of theory but in practice they operate unequally
to maintain a system of shameful inequality.67Also, the entrenched rights constitute an ob-
struction to governments' 'social engineering' policies designed to alleviate the situation
of the impoverished masses of people.68
The situation does not call for constitutional amendment. It calls for a radical departure
from orthodox political action within a capitalistic democracy. As Mr. Michael Manley,
Prime Minister of Jamaica, would say, it needs more than just 'tinkering'69 It needs a
change from capitalism to socialism or democratic socialism.
So the problem is undergoing a metamorphosis and its true identity will shortly be re-
vealed: It is not now a question of whether certain business organizations, e.g. the press,
will be required either by law or by sheer political brute force to support the governments
willy-nilly. The question is whether the press or any section thereof with its present
organisational form and modus operandi can be accommodated in the socialist environ-
ment where private ownership is minimised or eliminated completely.
With respect to party organs the fate of these is tied to the fate of the multi-party
system. The problem comprehends not only freedom of expression but how this freedom
can be given effect to by the right to associate with political groups of one's choice. This
is the most important avenue through which expression can be channelled. In fact it is the
most powerful form of public expression.
In Guyana at least, the die has been cast and the major newspapers have been acquired
by the government.70 But in view of the press record the distinction between private and
government ownership is of little significance. The chief political reporter of the Guyana
Graphic rightly points out that "local private ownership is no guarantee that as a com-
munication system . the media will be used to support the development thrust ...."7
In St. Kitts the Press and Publications Board Act72 makes it mandatory for newspapers
to function in the "national interest." 7
In Jamaica the position of the press is more uncertain74 While no repressive laws have
been passed, and Government has repeatedly given the assurance that there is no intention
to take over the press, the newspapers are under fire from the government and its party.
Representatives of the Jamaica press seem to be taking heart from Mr. Manley's definition
of the role of the press and there seems to be hope that the transition from capitalism to
democratic socialism will be accomplished "without chains".75
But the governments can also argue that too great a preoccupation with the constitu-
tionally selected rights can result in overlooking the fact that there are other rights which
though directly related to the right to life are not given constitutional recognition.76 If in-
deed the transition period could culminate in a truly egalitarian society77 which while
offering some less than what they presently have, will offer something in the line of better
living standards-adequate housing, food, health care, etc..--to the many who have no-
thing, giving up a negative freedom may not mean inevitable disaster.
Our libertarian conditioning will cause the lurking question to surface: without know-
ing why some established socialist governments frequently resort to imperialist wheat 78 can
we be assured that our future socialist governors will acquire the infallibility for which the
older ones are still striving? Will they suddenly become omniscient and beyond accepting
the suggestions, scrutiny, advice, warning, public admonishment, censure that an inde-
pendent press acting in the public interest can supply?
This need not be an 'adversary role'. Indeed it is part of the 'supportive role'79 which is
necessary in view of the fact that the governments have impliedly accepted that they are
prone to misunderstanding national requirements and the means of securing national goals.8
Mr. Manley of Jamaica has accepted that part of the role of the press "in a developing
world" will "necessarily (be to) subject both the men who wield power and the institu-
tions through which power is expressed to constant scrutiny and evaluative judgment
which can only be in the interest of the community."81
If these words can be taken at face value, it means that there is a role for an independ-
ent press in socialist Jamaica, but on the terms offered by Mr. Manley.82
But in fairness to the press, the laws of defamation83 and contempt" militate against
such a position. As has been said in another jurisdiction:85
"Whatever is added to field of libel is taken from the field of free debate." 86
Mr. Manley not only asserts that the press
"should be alert to corruption and quick to uncover suffering and always on guard
to challenge a society to excellence" 87
but he thinks that "this can be accomplished within the context of the present organisa-
tion of the press."'8
The role which Mr. Manley thinks the press should play "may well include vehement,
caustic, and sometimes unpleasantly sharp attacks on government and public officials""89
and "erroneous statements [are] inevitable in free debate ..."9
The question to ask is whether the Jamaican government is "commit [ted] to the prin-
ciple that debate on public issues should be uninhibited, robust and wide open" and
and that it may well be discussion which leaders and other officials find unpleasant at
But Mr. Manley is not unaware of the difficulties inherent in the pursuit of a goal such
as he has defined. In his book The Politics of Change92 he asks:
"Where is the dividing line between the rights of the press to its freedom as one of
the main instruments by which a free society protects itself against totalitarian en-
croachments, and the claims of social responsibility?"93
However difficult it is to define "social responsibility"" Mr. Manley sees this amorphous
concept as the price the Jamaican press must pay for its freedom. In fact he sees no in-
evitable antithesis between "commitment to freedom" and the "search for change". He
". to those whose commitment to freedom implies a desire for change as to those
whose search for change is pursued in the name of freedom, it is vital that the press
remain free and accept the duty of responsibility as the price of that freedom." 95
He warns that the press could lose its freedom should it choose not to take up the chal-
lenge of 'social responsibility' and there could be a confrontation
"between change.... Where the confrontation takes place, freedom is the casualty."96
It must be noted that Mr. Manley's packet of 'social responsibility'97 includes "alert-
ness to corruption". It is submitted that the present state of the law of defamation pre-
cludes any significant alertness to corruption in public office. This becomes clear when it
is realized that the two most important defences available to a defendant in a libel action
depend on proof of truth for their success.
The defence of justification9" can only succeed if the defendant proves the truth of
the facts alleged to be defamatory. Also the defence of fair comment99requires proof
that the facts which form the basis of the comment are true.
The requirement of proving truth puts an unnecessary damper on public debate of
public issues.'" The danger of this requirement has been adequately summarised as follows:
"A rule compelling the critic of official conduct to guarantee the truth of all his
factual assertions-and to do so on pain of libel judgements virtually unlimited in
amount leads to a comparable self-censorship. Allowance of the defence of truth
with the burden of proving it on the defendant, does not mean only false speech
will be deterred. Even courts accepting this defence as an adequate safeguard have
recognized the difficulties of adducing legal proofs that the alleged libel was true in
all its factual particulars."100
Under these rules the words falsehood, dishonesty, truth etc. are emptied of their real
content. Existing falsehood and dishonesty, by a legal process, are converted into truth
and honesty because of absence of proof. This position has been very ably summarised by
the U.S. Supreme Court:
"Under such a rule, would-be critics of official conduct may be deterred from voic-
ing their criticisms, even though it is believed to be true and even though it is in fact
true, because of doubt whether it can be proved in court or fear of the expense of
of having to do so. They tend to make only statements which "steer far wider of
the unlawful zone."l01
In addition, the press does not enjoy any privilege with respect to comment on candidates
for election. The law of defamation restricts public discussion of candidates at elections.'02
The position is presently very serious in view of the fact that at no time can the
governed debate freely the conduct of either their governors or would-be governors. With
respect to popular debates on candidates for election to public office, it has been recog-
"it is of the utmost consequence that people should discuss the character and quali-
fications of candidates for their suffrage. The importance to the state and to society
of such discussions is so vast, and the advantages derived are so great that they more
than counterbalance the inconvenience of private persons whose conduct may be
involved and occasional injury to the reputations of individuals must yield to the
public welfare, although at times such injury may be great . ." 103
In order to secure integrity among the governors the U.S. Supreme Court has held that
the governed enjoy absolute privilege to criticise their governors. This privilege is "quali-
fied to this extent: anyone claiming to be defamed by the communication must show
actual malice or go remediless. This privilege extends to a great variety of subjects, and in-
cludes matters of public concern, public men, and candidates for office."'4
It is submitted that the law presently in force in the Commonwealth Caribbean reflects
"the obsolete doctrine that the governed must not criticise their governors" or would-be
governors.'05 This law should be changed so that all holders and would-be holders of pub-
lic office would not continue to be effectively shielded from public scrutiny while being
paid from public funds.06
No one can seriously argue that the Caribbean's present state of underdevelopment re-
quires in fact a lower standard of integrity among its leaders and public officials by virtue
of its underdevelopment. On the contrary it can be argued quite forcibly that with the
limited available resources and the great need to redress the existing imbalance in wealth
the standard of integrity required in public officials should be higher than that expected
in developed societies.
It is clear that there is an unusual consensus among Caribbean leaders that press free-
dom in the Caribbean is circumscribed by more than the traditional legal restraints and in
the words of Mr. Manley "the press is going to have to recognize that its freedom is sub-
ject to an overriding concept of general social responsibility." 108
This "concept of general social responsibility" may appear to be nothing more than a
conceptually refined way of asking for a quiescent press. Mr. Manley's attempt at articul-
ating some functional aspects'09of this concept seems to preclude such a quick conclu-
sion. But when it is noted that the present law of libel is a potential cover for corruption
by effectively limiting public debate, there is a legal limit to how far the press can "be
alert to corruption and quick to uncover suffering . and . challenge a society to ex-
It has also been shown that the economic press has been too preoccupied with its
economic functions and even within the legal limits has ignored its social function."' What
therefore is the justification for the concerted political attack? As has been said recently
"If the media in the region can be called irresponsible at all, then they can only be
deemed so in respect of their obligation to the public." 1
In the other territories'3 the debate remains a live issue. It is a matter of time however,
whether the Jamaica press will (if it can), adopt the position being articulated by Mr.
But in the ultimate analysis whatever type of press is pressured into existence as a
result of law, or imminent or actual political force, two things remain clear.
First the Caribbean people have been the victims of perpetual exploitation and it seems
impossible for worse to come. Secondly although theie has never been a dynamic press
too great a reliance has been placed on it.
There is a limit to what the most crusading press can accomplish. The press is not a
successful replacement for popular vigilance, although it can aid in its creation and main-
No better summary of the people's role can be given than the following quotation
"Finally the people themselves must show their concern about national issues (such
as) restriction of the freedom of the press .... Unless the people respond in a
tangible way to the need for dire change and mobilise themselves .... then the
future of our peoples remains very dismal indeed." 114
A people cannot successfully delegate the duty of vigilance to the press or their courts.
The price of freedom still remains the eternal vigilance of the people. The most that the
mass media can do is to help to create an awareness for the need of self-reliance, and vigil-
ance, and to help in sustaining this awareness.
But whatever the goals to be pursued, and whatever the strategy for the achievement,
in the context of the Caribbean the fact still remains that
". . repression breeds hate;... hate meances stable government;... the path of
safety lies in the opportunity to discuss freely supposed grievances and proposed
remedies . ."
Finally, if freedom of expression is considered as irrelevant to and irreconcilable with
feeding, clothing and housing the masses, it must be remembered that after mouths have
been fed, bodies clothes and sheltered, there will remain the need to satisfy that indestruct-
ible quality of the human spirit which is always in search of self-assertion and individual
fulfilment. Freedom of expression, in the ultimate analysis, is relevant to humanhood.
1. For a full exposition of the laws relating to registration and operation of newspapers see
White, Dorcas, The Press and the Law in the Caribbean (a paper read at a workshop on the
theme: Caribbean Women. Communication for Development held at Mona Campus, U.W.I., in
Jamaica from June 13-15, 1975) passim.
2. For a definition of the term mass media see Brown, Donald E., How America Gets Her News
(1967 Rand McNally & Company) p. 5.
3. Socialism as a political and economic ideology seems to be gaining wide acceptance and has
been officially accepted in Guyana and Jamaica. See Manley, The Politics of Change (Andre
Deutsch) passni esp. at pp. 108-113 where Mr. Manley criticises the Marxist economic theory
and points out certain misconceptions.
4. Hence the need for expert evidence which the judge or jury is at liberty to ignore.
5. For the Jamaican case of R. v. Williams (1970) 16 W.I.R. 63 at p. 65 for an illustration of this
point. In giving the judgment of the court Shelley J.A. said inter alia:
"The appellant is illiterate. He lives with a mother, who according to the Probation
Officer, lacks the discipline and responsibility to offer the type of guidance he
needs. His father's whereabouts are unknown. His mother appears to live in deplor-
ably poor conditions. The area where she lives is untidy and insanitary, and her
home appears to be inadequate for a fairly young mother and an adolescent son.
The lad is unemployed. He has no strength of character and is easily swayed. This is
his first conviction.
It seems clear to us that in this case imprisonment with hard labour and flogging
may have a detrimental effect upon the character of the appellant, far exceeding
any deterrent effect ... His conduct was in the learned trial judge's view abomin-
able (robbery with aggravation) but this is not surprising having regard to his back-
ground one must not expect a silken purse from a sow's ear. We think that the
society that permitted him to develop the sort of character from which his present
predicament has resulted, ought not, even at this late stage, to miss an opportunity
to direct him in the right way rather than to destroy him with a long term of im-
prisonment amongst hardened criminals, and to debase his body by beating him ...
We therefore . set aside the sentence and order the appellant to enter into recog-
nisances in his own surety in the sum of twenty dollars, to be of good behaviour
and to keep the peace for a period of three years and to come up for sentence ... if
and when called upon so to do."
It must be noted that while the court was empowered to use its discretion to relieve the
appellant from the rigours of a long prison term and whipping after considering all the circum-
stances, there is nothing else that is within the limit of the court's power.
6. Trinidad and Tobago Constitution S. 1 (k).
7. (Emphasis added) Jamaica Constitution S. 22
Guyana Constitution S. 12
Barbados Constitution S. 20
Bahamas Constitution S. 23
8. White, ibid.. at p. 3.
9. loc. cit. See also Ambard v. A.G. for Trinidad and Tobago  A.C. 322 at p. 337 where
Lord Atkin makes this point with respect to the press in the then Crown Colony of Trinidad.
It is submitted that the express guarantee of press freedom in the Constitution has made no
distinction. See on this White, ibid., at pp. 2-3.
10. White, ibid., at p. 3.
11. The majority of the West Indies Associated States Court of Appeal rejected the argument
based on this objection. See 4.G. of Antieua & Minister of Home Affairs v. The Antigua Times
Ltd. Civ. Appeal No. 4/1972. See White, ibid., at p. 37 note 7.
12. E.g. Collymore v. A.G. (1967) 12 W.I.R. 5, Jaundoo v. A.G. (1967) 12 W.I.R. Note the
popular outcry which the Government of former Prime Minister Errol Barrow provoked with
the amendment of the Barbados Constitution.
13. In Jamaica the JLP now in opposition led the country into independence. On the other hand
it could well be that the Constitutions were imposed by the Imperial Parliament who thought
it fit to fetter the newly independent legislatures in a manner in which the Imperial Parliament
is not itself fettered.
14. See the report of a speech by Mr. Kit Nascimento, Minister of State, Office of Prime Minister
of Guyana, in Caribbean Contact Vol. 2 No. 9 Dec. 1974 at p. 14 especially at para. 1 of
column 2. See note 14 and text referred.
15. Ibid. at p. 15.
16. loc. cit.
17. loc. cit.
18. St. Kitts-Nevis-Anguilla: See note 19. See also Manley, ibid. at 193: "The laws of libel and
decency have long since made the freedom of the press subject to certain defined rights of
the individual. Equally, the press is going to have to recognize that its freedom is subject to an
overriding concept of general social responsibility."
19. Caribbean Contact ibid. at p. 11.
20. Claudette Sutherland, Media, Law and Society: The Jamaican Context, LL.B. thesis (unpub.)
21. See Notes 14, 18 and 19 supra.
22. As Mr. Hurbert Williams, a Guyanese journalist, clearly did. See his very impressive address re-
ported in Caribbean Contact ibid. at p. 15. Mr. Williams evidently in a mood for symbolism
appeared before his audience clad as a tramp to demonstrate that the Guyana press was in
"tatters" as a result of extra-legal pressures.
23. See e.g. Verbatim Notes of Proceedings of Meeting on Draft Constitution held at Queen's
Hall, Port of Spain 25-26th April.
24. This is important especially in the Commonwealth Caribbean where law in the popular aware-
ness means criminal law.
25. Jamaica and Guyana. On the Jamaican position see Manley, ibid., passim. On the Guyana scene
see Cheddi Jagan, The Mass Media in Guyana, Thunder Jan.-March 1973, pp. 4-17. See Note
26. E.g. Antigua, Grenada, St. Kitts-Nevis-Anguilla.
27. Antigua, Grenada, St. Kitts-Nevis-Anguilla.
28. That is, in addition to existing legal restraints. See a report on the Guyana situation compiled
by Dr. Everold N. Hosein after a survey in December 1974. In a territory such as Montserrat
the press is an entirely innocuous institution.
29. The Newspaper Surety Ordinance (Amendment) Act 1971 and the Newspaper Registration
(Amendment) Act both of which were upheld as valid by the Judicial Committee of the Privy
Council in the Antigua Times Case where it was held not to be unconstitutional to make it
mandatory to obtain a licence after payment of a licence fee and deposit of $10,000 to satisfy
libel judgments. See White, ibid. at pp. 7-8.
30. Newspaper (Amendment) Act 1975 which provides for a mandatory licence fee of $600 and a
deposit of $10,000. See White, ibid. at pp. 7-8 for a documentary of newspaper comment on
the Grenada Act.
31. One has to distinguish the economic section of the media which does not fulfil this role to
any significant extent The economic sector of the media comprises newspapers, radio, TV
and Rediffusion which are either private-owned or government-owned. The government-owned
section usually has a propaganda role in favour of the government. The Opposition section
comes closest to playing the role of government critic and unofficial ombudsman. In many
cases there is usually a third force sector (which expresses dissatisfaction with both the tradi-
tional economic and propaganda sectors), e.g. Tapia in Trinidad; Afro-Caribbean Movement
Outlet in Antigua; Abeng in Jamaica; Manjak in Barbados. Manjak is the newest 'third force'
newspaper. It accuses the established media "of showing a studied lack of analysis and treat-
ment of crucial local and regional issues." See Manjak No. 10 September/October 1975 p. 5-
article captioned The Sorry Position of the Press. See The Nation Vol. 2 No. 52 Nov. 30,
1975, Special Independence Issue, at p. 9 where an article by Mr. David Renwick, editor of
the Trinidad and Tobago Express makes reference to the fact that the press in Trinidad has
played the role of "unofficial ombudsman" to Trinidadians. Mr. Renwick while denying the
existence of any threat to press freedom in Trinidad seems to equate involvement in
'complaint journalism' as he calls it as being equivalent to the press ombudsman role. For the
latest and most useful example of "complaint journalism" in the region see the Jamaica Daily
Gleaner p. 1 "Action Station".
32. See Note 18 supra.
33. Press and Publications Board Act 1971 which sets up a Board in one respect analogous to the
English Race Relations Board under the Race Relations Acts 1965 and 1968. The PPB is not a
true analogue to the RRB since the former in addition to its powers of conciliation, can not
bring an action but can recommend to the Attorney-General the need to take steps to bring
criminal prosecution under the Act. In addition it has powers to suspend people from writing,
request security, recommend the deportation of non-belongers etc. See White, ibid. at pp.
30-35 for a discussion of the PPB's powers.
33a. See ibid. passim. See also The Nation Vol. 2 No. 52 Nov. 30, 1975 p. 42 article by Mohammad
Hamalludin, Chief Political Reporter of the Government-owned Guyana Graphic.
34. At least for a start. See Manley, ibid. at pp. 191-195. See also J. C. Proute, Change Without
Chains, an article featured in The Nation ibid. at pp. 41 and 45. Mr. Proute, who is editor of
the Jamaica Daily News, tries to put Mr. Manley's thinking with regard to the press in Jamaica
35. See Notes 14 and 18 supra.
36. See Brown, ibid. at pp. 16-22 where Professor Brown lists six functions as comprising the role
of the press:
(1) to inform;
(2) to present the news in an attractive manner;
(3) the 'opinion function';
(4) entertainment function;
(5) service function-recipes, hobbies and how-to-do-it, doctors' and other experts'
(6) economic function.
The information function could comprehend functions (2) and (5) which it is submitted are
not independent functions in their own right pace Prof. Brown.
37. Not only with respect to individuals but to classes of individuals and the interest of the major-
ity of people. See Note 31 supra.
38. Prof. Brown's 'economic function'. See Note 36 supra. See Advocate-News Wednesday June 4
1975 editorial page. The editor states that this responsibility extends to the editor "and to the
scores of people employed in the operation who could well find themselves out of work and
out of bread for their families if the 'fearlessness' of the editor and those in decision-making
positions under him, should lead to a newspaper being found guilty of a big enough libel to
close it down." In the same editorial the editor writes: "A newspaper has a right to inform the
people but it also has an obligation to respect the Jaws of the land." Paying out money to
satisfy libel judgments is definitely inconsistent with the economic interest of the shareholders
39. While the press finds objectionable any suggestion that press freedom in the Caribbean should
be different from what that concept entails in metropolitan centres the press has in many re-
spects voluntarily curtailed its freedom. See Manjak, ibid.at p. 5 where it is said that "the
press men, making bilious noises for more freedom, are themselves exercising various forms of
censorship. On the one hand the Advocate blatantly refuses to print certain articles, the
Nation on the other takes unduly long time (in some cases a matter of months) to publish cer-
tain articles thus nullifying their erstwhile topical significance." The Nation also refuses to
print letters to the editor unless signed by the writer using his real name. This, it is submitted,
deprives the public of useful opinions written by people who for good reasons wish to remain
40. See notes 16 and 17 supra.
41. Cf. Manley, ibid. at pp. 138-161.
42. This could be traceable to the fact that many journalists and reporters have been trained in
metropolitan centres. The Institute of Mass Communications was established at the University
of the West Indies to train journalists. See Contact, ibid. at p. 16 for an article by Marlene
Cuthbert, Lecturer in Mass Communications, under the caption "Our Media must be Different
From that of U.S.A. and U.S.S.R." A Press Council has recently been set up to act as a dis-
ciplinary body for the region's press.
43. The orthodox view is that the press should be subject only to the law. See Notes 15 and 16
supra and accompanying text.
44. See Caribbean Contact Vol. 2 No. 9, December 1974 p. 15, and also the articles on pp. 12-13.
45. See The Nation, ibid. at p. 9 where David Renwick dismisses Guyanese "development support
communication" as "restrictive nonsense". For an explanation of what is Development Sup-
port Communication (DSC) see a paper by Dr. E. Hosein, Development Support Communica-
tion and its Application to the Caribbean published in Caribbean Women in Communication
for Development (ed. Marlene Cuthbert) pp. 48-61.
46. See Note 45 supra.
47. See White, ibid. at pp. 8-30.
48. See Note 38 supra.
49. Party organs are committed to supporting their parties and sometimes would blindly oppose
national goals merely for the sake of opposition. On the other hand the government party
organ would equally blindly support a policy which is obviously ill-timed and pointless.
50. Commitment to development goals need not be in any way an antithesis to this function al-
though there is difficulty in seeing the two roles in peaceful co-existence. Presently only party
organs could be said to be approaching the role of unofficial ombudsman.
51. Cf. what Mr. Ken Gordon, president of the Caribbean Publishers and Broadcasting Association
(CPBA), has to say on press freedom and Watergate in The Nation Nov. 30, 1975 p. 43.
52. Cf. Manley, ibid. at p. 69; and cf. Manjak No. 11 (Special Anniversary Independence Issue)
p. 1 "Promises! Promises!".
53. See Note 31 supra.
54. See my statement reported in the Jamaica Daily Gleaner June 17, 1975 at p. 20.
55. Cf. Wilson, Using the Print Media to Project the Problems of the Underprivileged published in
Caribbean Women in Communication for Development (ed. Marlene Cuthbert) p. 25.
56. See Note 38 supra.
57. See New York Times v. Sullivan, 376 US 254 (1964).
58. The party organs as well as the economic press are usually championing sectional interests.
59. Economic press.
60. Wilson, ibid. at p. 25.
61. See Note 56 supra.
62. See Note 52 supra.
63. See Note 14 supra and accompanying text.
64. Especially the law of defamation.
65. It is irrelevant that it has not been functioning as such.
66. In so far as the governments are rejecting capitalism as a solution.
67. Cf. Manjak No. 10 September/October 1975 p. 2: "It is idle to talk of rights to property in a
situation where the vast majority have no opportunity to enjoy this right."
68. The fact that reasonable compensation must be paid when land is acquired compulsorily puts
a government initiating agrarian reform at a disadvantage. The Trinidad and Tobago Govern-
ment had to resort to a special constitutional majority to pass National Insurance legislation.
69. Manley, ibid. at p. 23.
70. See Note 33a. supra.
71. See Note 33a. supra.
72. No. 27 of 1971.
73. See White, ibid. at pp. 30-35.
74. Cf. Proute, Change Without Chains featured in The Nation Sunday Nov. 30, 1975 p. 41. And
see Manley, ibid. at pp. 191-195.
75. See Note 74 supra.
76. E.g. the right to a decent wage to support a minimum standard of living; the right to health
care. It must be noted that many of the rights recognized in the U.N. Declaration of Human
Rights are not included in the constitutions.
77. Cf. Manley, ibid., passim.
78. Mr. Cameron Tudor, a former Barbados High Commissioner to Britain, in an address to the
Annual Conference of the BWU on August 30, 1975, likened Russia to "Ruth standing in the
alien corn" with respect to American wheat. See Manjak No. 10. September/October 1975 for
a critique and summary of Mr. Tudor's speech which was described as "a remarkable exercise
in political propaganda."
79. Cf. Proute, ibid. at p. 41. But the economic press has never played an adversary role. This is
usually left to party organs supporting their parties in opposition. Manjak No. 10 at p. 5 has
attempted to describe the 'supportive role': "We do not support the view that a submissive
and pliant press is the most desirable press in the interest of national development. We believe
that the role of the press in the context of the region's development should be one of stimul-
ating full community participation in establishing national goals and seeing that they are
effectively carried out. In addition, the media should support national policy wherever poss-
ible and where such policy is in evidence." Manjak's position seems to imply that the press
may at some time find it impossible to support national policy although it gives no clue as to
what should render support impossible. One can only guess that the press would be entitled to
refuse support only on principle and in the public interest. Secondly Manjak's statement
refers to "where such policy is in evidence". This is important because it is impossible to sup-
port a policy when either nothing or not enough is known about it as has been the case in the
Caribbean where governments are in the habit of doing public business in private. On Develop-
ment Support Communication etc. see Hosein, ibid., passim.
80. The fact of changing to socialism after pinning faith in capitalism as the answer to the region's
problems, can be viewed as an implied confession of error.
81. See Proute, ibid. at p. 41; see also Manley, ibid. at pp. 191-195.
82. See Manley, ibid. at pp. 194-195; see also Proute, ibid. at p. 41.
83. Manjak No. 10 says at p. 5 "... the fear of government action through existing libel laws has
reduced journalism to a state of what can be called "Compromise journalism". For a descrip-
tion of the fate of an editor and a newspaper which were struck by libel see The Nation Sun-
day 14 December 1975 p. 36.
84. Especially the sub judice rule which puts any matter pending before the court out of public
debate. Some people file a writ for defamation not with any intention of pursuing the matter
but to invoke the sub judice rule to silence their critics.
85. The United States of America.
86. See N.Y. Times v. Sullivan 376 US 254 (1964) at p. 270.
87. Manley, ibid. at p. 194.
88. loc. cit.
89. N.Y. Times v. Sullivan, supra.
90. loc. cit.
91. Especially if the press gets "alert to corruption" in public life.
92. In which he outlines his "setting . and strategy" for changing the Jamaica society.
93. Manley, ibid. at p. 193.
94. Mr. Manley deals with the press in 4 pages.
95. Manley, ibid. at p. 195.
96. ibid. at 194-195.
97. ibid. at 194-195.
98. See White, ibid. at pp. 21-22. Carter-Ruck, Libel and Slander (1972), p. 105.
99. ibid. at pp. 22-23. Carter-Ruck, ibid. at p. 117.
100. As it induces an unwholesome self-censorship. See N.Y. Times v. Sullivan 376 US 254 (1964)
passim especially at p. 279.
101. ibid. at p. 279. Emphasis added. Cf. Tyrone Evelyn, Further Proof of our Political Force, arti-
cle featured in The Nation Vol. 3 No. 2 Dec. 14. 1975 at p, 4: ". . although there is visible
corruption in some areas, one cannot publicly talk about it because of the lack of that legal
ingredient called 'proof ".
102. See Jamaica Defamation Act S. 12.
103. N.Y. Times v. Sullivan, supra pp. 280-281 quoting from Coleman v. MacLennan 78 Kan 711
104. N.Y. Times v. Sullivan, supra pp. 280-281.
105. N.Y. Times v. Sullivan, supra p. 279.
106. Cf. the effect of the Official Secrets Act 1911.
107. But this argument seems to be faintly echoed in the insistence that the press in the Caribbean
should be less free than in metropolitan countries. However, Mr. Manley's position seems to
be that a high level of integrity is necessary. But see Politics of Change at p. 69 where Mr.
Manley rightly states: ". . Then there is the matter of honesty. There has to be total commit-
ment to frankness . .Perhaps in societies that can take for granted the integrity of institu-
tional and national leadership, this emphasis will seem strange;" and at p. 194 where he states
that the press should be "alert to corruption". In Jamaica and Guyana MPs must declare their
assets. See White, Parliamentary Integrity in Jamaica and Guyana (unpub. paper).
108. Manley, ibid. at p. 191.
109. ibid. at pp. 192-194.
110. As suggested by Mr. Manley.
111. The economic press includes government-owned media especially Radio and TV networks
which are virtually closed to anything which is not laudatory of government. The practice is
so well known that it is superfluous to cite instances. There is no existing policy analogous to
the American "fairness doctrine".
112. Manjak No. 10 September/October 1975 p. 5.
113. In Trinidad however, the editor of the Express confidently asserts that:
"Government restrictions have never been a problem for the press in Trinidad and
Tobago. There are probably two reasons for that, one being the Prime Minister Dr.
Eric Williams' constitutional belief in free institutions and a free press and the other
the fact that Williams' faith in his apparent invulnerability makes him almost con-
temptuous of 'irritants' like the press." The Nation Nov. 30 1975 p. 9.
114. Manjak No. 10 September/October 1975 p. 5.
115. Per Mr. Justice Brandeis in Whitney v. California 274 US 357, 375-376 and adopted in N.Y.
Times v. Sullivan supra.
THE MASS MEDIA OF COMMUNICATIONS AND SOCIALIST CHANGE
IN THE CARIBBEAN: A CASE STUDY OF JAMAICA*
Contemporary attempts by some Caribbean governments to transform social and econ-
omic relationships within their societies have met with both internal and external resist-
ance. The fairly recent recognition by some regimes of the central role of the mass media
of communications in the resistance movement has led to, among other things, the estab-
lishment of a Caribbean News Agency, and to greater policing of the mass media of com-
munications within some countries. Media owners and managers, in turn, have responded
by publicising those efforts as attempts to control the "free" press; as censorship; etc.,
thereby camouflaging the latent but very real conflict between private propaganda and
official propaganda in the process of social reconstruction.
Of course, social reconstruction at minimum implies the redistribution of power within
society, and it is for this reason that we have to look at Caribbean media in at least two
ways if we are to understand fully their impact on the prevailing distribution and use of
power in our societies. a) The ownership structure of the media must be scrutinised in
order to comprehend b) their functions within our societies.
The following is an attempt to do this using Jamaica as a case study while recognizing
that there are only relative differences between Jamaica and other CARICOM countries in
the particulars analysed.
It is important to settle initially the question of ownership, for in spite of the present
government's initiatives to transform certain critical economic relationships within the
society, Jamaica remains a capitalist society.
While the "product" of the communications industry-information-differs significant-
ly from the product of all other industries, the private ownership of the means of produc-
ing information for a society is closely linked to the overall agenda of producing goods
and services for profit. Specifically, the information that is made available to the public
serves the interests overtly and covertly of the owners and managers of the information
Significantly, all three daily newspapers in Jamaica, having a combined circulation of
184,000, are privately owned. Consolidation of private ownership of this particular mass
medium is further enhanced by the fact that both the Daily Gleaner and the sole after-
noon newspaper, the Star, with a combined circulation of 154,000, are owned by a single
company, the Gleaner Company Ltd.
Although in the context of a total population of two million the combined circulation
of the three dailies appears relatively small, in reality the impact of the newspapers on the
*This is a slightly modified version of an article that first appeared in Stone, Carl and Brown, Aggrey
(eds.), Essays on Power and Change in Jamaica, U.W.I., January 1976.
total population far outweighs the actual numbers circulated, and for a number of reasons.
In the first place, the nature of the newspaper medium is such that it is a permanent
record that can be consulted long after the news which it purports to report has become
'stale'. Therefore its power to reach and influence those exposed is not time-bound in the
sense that the electronic media are.
Secondly, since readership is a function of literacy, the circulation statistics must be
related directly to potential readership, namely, the literate population. In effect, what
this means is that only approximately half of the Jamaican population has direct access to
information provided by this medium. This figure is even lower if we exclude most of the
non-working literate such as children and many adults who do not read a newspaper regu-
larly. If we assume, based on average middle-income family size in Jamaica, for example,
that each newspaper is read by approximately three persons, then the combined circula-
tion of all three papers reaches approximately 45% of the literate population who read a
newspaper with any frequency, which is somewhere between three and four hundred
In Jamaica there is yet a third important factor that contributes to the saliency of this
form of mass communication, and that is the indirect word-of-mouth access to printed
information of the non-literate and non-reading sector of the population. This is particu-
larly significant in the case of the Daily Gleaner which is one of the oldest newspapers in
the English-speaking western hemisphere.
Founded in 1834, the Daily Gleaner predates the New York Times by seventeen years.
And since for much of its 141 years it was a virtual monopoly in the marketplace of in-
formation, it has developed a unique institutional position, and thereby great influence as
an opinion-maker in the society. It is still quite common for many Jamaicans to use the
name "Gleaner" as a synonym for "newspaper" in spite of the advent of the Jamaica
Daily News founded in 1973. This merely reinforces the point that the direct and indirect
influence of the island's daily newspapers on the population is greater than their circula-
tion statistics would indicate; control of the Jamaican daily press remaining entirely in
In terms of direct influence, the medium that has greatest impact on Jamaican society
is radio. From Table I it will be seen that the majority of radio listeners in Jamaica are
from the unskilled and manual-labour categories of the society. This is not surprising
since a large proportion of the non-literate population is to be found among these two
categories of workers. An interesting corollary to this observation, and one with cultural
overtones, is the fact that middle- and upper-income Jamaicans tend to depend more on
the daily newspapers for their primary source of news and information. (See Table II.)
Radio Jamaica and Rediffusion Ltd., RJR, the island's first commercial radio station,
is 70% owned by Rediffusion of England. Franchised in 1951, it commands an average of
79% of the total radio audience. The Jamaica Broadcasting Corporation, the JBC, is a
wholly-owned statutory corporation of the government of Jamaica. However, although
government-owned it depends entirely on commercial advertising for its operating re-
venue. JBC-TV is the only electronic media monopoly in Jamaica being wholly owned by
the government and operating with a franchise similar to that of JBC radio. It is essential-
ly a commercial though ostensibly non-profit-making operation.
Average '-hour adult radio
% '000 %
i = Professional, supervisory, skilled craftsmen, technicians
ii = Semi-skilled occupations
iii = Unskilled labourers, manual service occupations.
t From 1973 Jamaica Radio Survey, revised ed., Kingston: Market Research Jamaica Ltd., March 1974.
HOMES WITH RADIO
RADIO SETS OWNED:
Radio sets in the home
TYPE OF SET*
PROPORTION OF SETS
ESTIMATED NO. OF
ADULTS WIO LISTEN
ON AN AVERAGE DAY
*excluding car radios
For all that, commercial mass media in all capitalist societies are an integral part of the
market economy. The myth that rationalises their raison d'etre is that they serve the pub-
lic interest by providing relevant news, information and community service. Given the im-
portance of communications in modern society, to some extent this is certainly true.
However, the central function of the mass media in all capitalist societies, like that of any
other enterprise, is to make money, and specifically to provide the psychological infra-
structure that allows other industries to make money. The mass media of communications
are a vital industry within consumer economy, being used essentially to advertise goods
and services within the profit-making milieu. Disseminating news and information and
providing entertainment are ancillary functions to this primary purpose.
This point is no longer debated among economists, be they conservative or radical,
since it has long been recognized and accepted that
"Advertising affects demands ... by altering the wants (of people) themselves. The
distinction between this and altering the channel through which existing wants are
satisfied, although obscured in practical application by the fact that the two are
often mingled, is perfectly clear analytically. An advertisement which merely dis-
plays the name of a particular trademark or manufacturer may convey no informa-
tion: yet if this name is made more familiar to buyers they are led to ask for it in
preference to unadvertised, unfamiliar brands. Similarly, selling methods which play
upon the buyer's susceptibilities, which use against him laws of psychology with
which he is unfamiliar and therefore against which he cannot defend himself, which
frighten or flatter or disarm him-all of these have nothing to do with his know-
ledge. They are not informative; they are manipulative. They create a new scheme
of wants by rearranging his motives." (Baran and Sweezy, Monopoly Capital, p. 117.)
Any Jamaican subjected to the bombardment of the media in the nation will recognize
the validity of the foregoing. RJR and JBC (AM) broadcast a combined total of 302.75
hours per week. Of that, 25 hours are devoted to news and commentary. That is, 8.25%
of radio broadcast time provides the listener with straight information, ostensibly one of
the primary functions of the mass media of communications. Between the two stations,
15 and a half hours of public affairs programming (Public Eye, Palaver-JBC; and Expos-
ure-RJR, etc.) suffice for the week. That is, 5.1% of weekly broadcast time. As a Christ-
ian country of course, both stations find it prudent to provide listeners with 17 and '/
hours of weekly religious programming, 0.8% more time than is allotted to public affairs.
Eighty per cent or 215 hours of all air time on AM radio is devoted to entertainment
consisting of soap operas, quizzes and North-American-style disc jockey programmes, etc.
These 215 hours lend themselves admirably to the central task of conning the gullible
public to conspicuous consumption. The three minutes or so that it takes to play a popu-
lar disc is just enough time to give the listener a respite from the last message from a
sponsor. Occasionally, the listener is given the extra-special treat o' "two-in-a-row". The
price of such a "treat" is that it is invariably followed by five messages in a row.
Although television broadcasts fewer hours per week, the situation there is little better
than in radio. 30% of TV viewing time is given over to news, education and public affairs
generally, and 70% to entertainment. The former includes such programmes as Sesame
Street, Into the Light (JAMAL). Focus, Firing Line, Sunday Report, News, Sports and
Weather, etc. Entertainment is primarily imported third-rate left-over North American
serials and film stock.
An even more telling situation prevails in the non-electronic media, the daily news-
papers. On any given day approximately 64.3% of the Daily Gleaner's pages are devoted
to advertisements of one sort or another. The remainder, 35.7% is divided between news,
editorials, commentary and entertainment. More precisely, 35.7% of the Gleaner's pages
are divided between what the public is made to believe are the central purposes of the
newspaper. The Daily News is only better in this regard because it has to compete with
the firmly entrenched Daily Gleaner. On any given day it devotes approximately 30% of
its pages to advertising.
A key supporting role of these primary activities of the mass media of communications
in Jamaica is provided by the advertising industry. That commercial advertising is big
business in Jamaica, and is an integral part of the island's capitalist economy is de-
monstrated by the fact that in 1974 S12 million were spent on mass media advertising
alone. Of the eighteen advertising agencies in Jamaica, the three largest, McCann Erickson,
Dunlop Corbin Compton, and LNCK are foreign-owned-the first two wholly foreign-
owned. And approximately 70% of the smaller wholly-owned Jamaican agencies have
come into existence since 1972.
The multi-national agency subsidiaries make a specialty of servicing accounts of trans-
national corporations operating in Jamaica. This is only one of the many ways that the
advertising industry together with the mass media put a strain on the country's foreign re-
serves. In fact so fertile a field is the Jamaican economy for foreign-made and/or patented
produces that one agency, Lonsdale Hands, was established in the island for the specific
purpose of servicing the Carreras Tobacco Company's account.
Since radio is the most popular medium of mass communications in Jamaica, and RJR
the most popular radio station, it is not surprising that that station controls 40% of the
media advertising market in Jamaica. It is followed as would be expected also, by the
Daily Gleaner with 32%; JBC Television 20% and JBC radio together with the Daily News
the remaining 8%.
Of the $12 million spent on advertising the communications media take in some $9.6
million or 80%, the remainder going to the advertising agencies. This means that RJR's'in-
take from this single source alone in 1974 was approximately $3.84 million; the Daily
Gleaner some $3 million; JBC-TV $1 .92 million; and the two small-timers, JBC radio and
the Daily News together, $768,000.
A number of pertinent conclusions can be drawn from the above. First, it is obvious
that in the absence of clear governmental guidelines for the operation of the mass media
of communications in Jamaica, the media operate in an unrestricted free market environ-
ment. This has significant implications for any governmental attempt to transform the
national economy especially as such transformation affects the distribution of economic
and social power within the society.
Because the media owners and managers are a part of the very status quo that would
be threatened by the redistribution of power within the society, any serious governmental
initiative to achieve such redistribution will meet resistance from them. Worker partici-
pation in industry, the establishment of co-operative farms, and state ownership of the
"commanding heights" of the economy are all concepts which are threatening to these
established and entrenched economic powers. If implemented on any wide scale they will
necessarily alter the form that consumerism and competition now take in the society, for
to rationalize the production of goods and services along co-operative or collective lines is
to dispense with the need for commercial advertising as it is presently understood and
practised in the Jamaican economy. It is, in short, to undermine the $12 million industry
of the media owners and managers.
Too, since the product of the media-information-is critical to mobilization efforts
for change, any government desiring to transform social and economic relationships in the
society will have to contend with the inevitable counter-propaganda effects of the en-
trenched media in Jamaica, notably the Daily Gleaner and RJR.
Any effort at this stage by the governing party to redefine through legislation the para-
meters within which the mass media operate in Jamaica will be condemned outrightly as
an infringement on the rights of the people to know, and of course as an impingement on
freedom of the press. In the present Jamaican context, however, the concept of freedom
of the press is a camouflage for the larger deception that is involved in the media owners'
protecting their own economic self-interests. For freedom of the press cannot be divorced
from the free-enterprise system that the media not only support but that supports the
media to the tune of $12 million per year.
All this, of course, poses an acute dilemma for the government of the PNP and its
socialist intentions, for in order to disseminate its new ideology, it is dependent on gener-
ally hostile mass media, or in the case of its own outlet on the less listened to of the two
AM radio outlets. If the output of government information is significantly increased on
the government-owned media, both radio and television, the government runs the risk of
being accused of manipulating its facilities to propagandise the people.
This calls into question the quality of the planning process that preceded the PNP's
ascension to power in 1972. For, had a planned programme of information flow been
worked out by the government prior to coming to power and announcing its socialist ob-
jectives, much of the present dilemma would have been preempted.
The social (or socialist) transformation of a society cannot be achieved in any situation
where the counter-propaganda of private economic interests is able to undermine official
propaganda, and that is the situation that prevails in Jamaica and the region at the present
moment. Applying democratic principles of worker participation or community control
to this critical area of national life is therefore a sine qua non for the radical restructuring
of the social and economic order within our countries.
SOME OBSERVATIONS ON THE ROLE OF MASS MEDIA IN THE RECENT
SOCIO-POLITICAL DEVELOPMENT OF JAMAICA
Much has been written about the fact that a consciousness of national goals and pur-
poses is essential to development, and that the mass media' are agents which affect such
consciousness, either positively or negatively.
The extent of media effects is the subject of on-going research, but one can safely
make the generalisation, as does the UNESCO report on The Practice of Mass Communi-
cation, that "the media have the power to focus attention on issues, on events and on per-
sonalities and thus to direct a great deal of the discussion within society."2 The 'agenda-
setting' studies of McCombs3 and others support the notion that the media do influence
us by their priorities. As Bernard Cohen of Princeton says in The Press and Foreign Policy,
"the press may not be successful much of the time in telling people what to think, but it
is stunningly successful in telling its readers what to think about."4
Media effects are transmitted through media technologies which, until recently, have
been considered culturally neutral. But no developing country has the facilities to make
Full use of new technologies locally. Hence, any technology brings with it a certain amount
Sof non-technological dependence in the form of imported programmes and materials.
These imported messages are necessarily culture-bound. The fact that information flows
as much as 100 times more from developed to developing countries than vice versas makes
it clear that the problem of cultural inappropriateness is a large one. Noting that the
image of neutral, value-free cultural forms is absurd, Schiller writes that it is "a cause for
wonderment that information flows can be promoted enthusiastically and uncritically." 6
This is, of course, an argument against the concept of "free flow of information" which,
in fact, does not exist in any society, and which can be extremely detrimental to a devel-
oping society. Compare what the 'free flow' means in the U.S. where commercial tele-
vision imports only 1% of its material, with what 'free flow' means in Saudi Arabia which
imports 100% of its material!" The developing world is 'free' to fill its air waves with
material from another culture, and its newspaper columns with the perspectives of the
major world news agencies and syndicates.
But it is not only imported material which may be dysfunctional to a society's develop-
ment. Local material which is geared to the needs of a minority rather than the majority
may also have a negative effect on socio-politcal change. For that reason, this paper will
examine not only content, but also ownership of Jamaican media, since the media's socio-
political orientation is largely determined by the interests of its owners. In order to assess
the role of the media in Jamaica's current political development, it is useful to look at
some major features of the government's 'democratic socialist' programme.
Recent moves on the local scene have included a national minimum wage (in Oct.,
1975, 50% of the population over 15 received $20 per week or less); emphasis on literacy
(50% of the population over 15 are illiterate); low-income housing; a special employment
programme to alleviate unemployment which stands at over 20%; a land-lease programme
for farmers; worker participation in industry; and a National Housing Trust fund. The
party wants state ownership of the 'commanding heights' and sensitive areas of the econ-
omy, but wants to maintain a mixed economy. The government's foreign policy has em-
phasised the necessity for a new world economic order and for closer relations among
Third World countries.
In general, the government cannot be pigeon-holed into any traditional mould, but
seems to have adopted an eclectic approach which is aimed at granting more economic
and social power to the deprived majority of the population.
Media Ownership and News Sources
Jamaica's three daily newspapers are locally owned, two of them-the 142-year-old
Daily Gleaner, and the Star-owned by the Gleaner Co. which is controlled by established
wealthy institutions and groups of the society. The four-year-old Jamaica Daily News is
owned by Communications Corporation, which has as one of its largest shareholders the
National Continental Corporation, of which ITT has 30% of the shares. One radio station
is 70% owned by Rediffusion Ltd. of the U.K. The other radio station and the TV station
are publicly owned, but commercially run.
In addition to subscribing to a great deal of syndicated material,.all of the media sub-
scribe to Associated Press and all except the Daily Gleaner and the Star subscribe to the
recently formed Caribbean News Agency canaA). Harry Mayers, General Manager of
CANA, explains that the Gleaner refuses to subscribe to CANA because it fears 'political
control' of the agency. In the words of Mr. Mayers, "as a matter of principle, the Gleaner
does not feel that government should have any dealing whatsoever, directly or indirectly,
in the running of the media."9 To be able to assess the Gleaner's fears, we should look
briefly at the history, purpose and structure of CANA.
Proposals to establish a regional news agency date back to 1967 when the Fourth
Commonwealth Caribbean Governments Conference called for the establishment of a
news agency, arising from the fact that the conference was "conscious that regional think-
ing and awareness is the essential basis for the effective working of regional institutions"
and that the mass media "provided inadequate coverage for regional events and policies."' o
As a result, UNESCO/UNDP sponsored three surveys between 1968 and 1974. After dis-
cussions with media, government and university personnel throughout the region, the
first survey concluded that "There is a general desire in the Commonwealth Caribbean
region to make use of the mass media to promote better understanding within the region
and to help surmount the problems encountered in moving towards close social and
economic co-operation." L The report also recorded that "a diminishing interest in regional
coverage has been displayed by Jamaica's 'Gleaner' which closed down the bureau it used
to maintain in Trinidad at the time of the Federation of the West Indies.'
The second survey pointed to a basic purpose of the agency as being to increase the
regional flow of news "not so much by limiting the number of foreign items, but rather
by cutting down the lineage of the single messages from abroad, and at the same time ex-
panding domestic coverage."13 This report emphasised
Whether it concerns highly developed or less developed countries, the national
agency would be in the best position to meet the urge of the consumers of the
region to recognize and define their national identity.14
In July, 1975, Reuters Caribbean Service and the Caribbean Publishers and Broadcast-
ers Association began CANA as a joint venture. On Jan. 7, 1976, CANA became an in-
dependent agency, taking over Reuters Barbados-based Caribbean Service, including the
staff, and stringers in 13 islands. It sends out 20,000 words of copy a day, of which 15,000
words are from Reuters International Service, and 5-6,000 words are from CANA.
The Shareholders of CANA are so constituted that 56% must be private, and 44%
government. CANA has correspondents in New York and Toronto and has plans for others
in London and Lagos. The agency hopes to establish closer relationships with non-English-
speaking Caribbean countries; the first move in this direction will soon be provided by
means of a link-up with Prensa Latina, the Cuban news agency which has correspondents
in Latin America, Eastern Europe, France, Britain, India and several African countries.15
For the first time, a news agency in the Caribbean is writing stories primarily for the
Caribbean audience, from a Caribbean perspective. The General Manager of CANA (and
former editor of Reuters Caribbean Service) states that CANA has not experienced any
political interference. 16 In answering questions about possible political control, the
UNDP/UNESCO survey team had emphasized that "a reputable news agency could report
only fully substantiated, well sourced and eye-witnessed facts, as well as attributable con-
clusions or comment; always endeavouring to balance the latter whenever they contain a
controversial element." 7
It seems reasonable to conclude that CANA is certainly no more likely to have political
influence than the foreign news agencies, and that the Gleaner has been unduly fearful.
History has certainly shown that the major wire services do experience political pressures.
This has been documented by occasional news stories and by the U.S. Senate Report,
Covert Action in Chile, 1963-1973.*
Even a large, developed country such as Canada has often expressed concern about the
political and cultural influence of foreign news agencies. A Canadian Royal Commission
Report has lamented the fact that Canadian news organizations "must rely on the news-
gathering facilities of foreign media, usually those which are American-owned."' 9 The re-
port notes that the men who report this news bring to their task a bias which can often
not be eliminated even by the best Canadian editors. In this way, it concludes, "our fact-
ual view of the world from our own media may be coloured by reportage of American
and international news selected and presented according to American styles."20 A Canad-
ian senator summarized the issue when he wrote that "the communications of a nation
are as vital to its life as its defence-and should receive at least as great a measure of pro-
tection."21 For small, vulnerable nations like Jamaica, the issue is surely even more serious
than for Canada.
All of Jamaica's media, including the government-owned radio and TV stations, are de-
pendent on advertising for profits. Ads comprise up to 70% of the Daily Gleaner. One
must look at both advertising and programming in the light of the media's proven ability
to influence tastes and images. The battle for the appropriate colour image in advertising
has to a large extent been won now in Jamaica, as the majority of ads feature black faces,
but, unfortunately, blacks who are often perpetuating the consumption-oriented tastes of
the developed world. At best the population receives conflicting messages from advertise-
ments: the Workers Bank encourages savings and the airline and the furniture store en-
courage spending; the Family Planning Board encourages responsible parenthood and the
ad for Dragon Stout (which is said to have virility-inducing qualities) says that Dragon
"puts it back".
The government-owned television station has 72% imported content; at prime time 62%
is imported. If one excludes time spent on news and government information programmes,
only 18% of prime time is local.22 The vast majority of foreign programmes are light
entertainment, primarily canned American situation comedies and thrillers.
Radio stations broadcast for 16-24 hours a day. With the exception of some religious
programmes, serials, sports and news, most programmes are locally produced. But the disc
jockey and other musical programmes feature a large proportion of foreign music. No
doubt the fact that Jamaican youth prefer American soul and funky music to Trinidad's
calypso is related to radio's priorities in music.
In the print media, news from local, regional and foreign sources occupies the most
non-advertising space, along with local and foreign features and a variety of syndicated
materials. The Daily Gleaner, founded in 1834, has the largest circulation and the most
influential voice among the media, and this discussion will now focus on aspects of the
role played by the Gleaner particularly since the government announced its policy of
"democratic socialism", its friendship with Cuba, and its support of the MPLA in Angola.
In spite of the government's insistence that it believes in democratic socialism, that it
is forging a political philosophy appropriate to Jamaica and not copying any foreign
model, many Gleaner columnists, letters and features do not distinguish between various
types of socialism and sometimes not even between socialism and communism. Socialism
and communism are "the same thing", said columnist Thomas Wright (Oct. 15/74). The
following are some of the characteristics of the paper which project a strong anti-socialist
1) reprinting of negative articles about Jamaica from foreign publications such as News-
week (Jan. 13th), Wall Street Journal (Jan. 18th) and Miami Herald (Feb. 5th, Mar. 1st).
Among the articles can be found documentable lies, half-truths, and many inferences and
insinuations. A letter dated Jan. 14th to the Gleaner by a citizen of the U.S. residing in
Jamaica described the Newsweek article as a "misleading juxtaposition of certain facts, a
series of inaccuracies and exaggerations, and an obvious malicious intent."
On Jan. 19th, in a reply to the Wall Street Journal article 'Dismantling an Island Para-
dise', the Director of the Agency for Public Information listed 13 "blatant falsehoods and
inaccuracies". For example, the article states that inflation is 25% while the Department
of Statistics Price Indices, Nov. 1975, state that inflation on a point-to-point basis for
Nov. 1974 to Nov., 1975 is 15-7%; the article states "Last week featured the burning of
an entire section of Kingston where there is a heavy concentration of JLP voters," while
API claims that 30 buildings were burnt along three adjoining streets and cites statistics to
indicate that the area heavily supported the PNP in 1974.
It is hardly necessary to comment on some of the other gross generalizations in the
same article which refers to "the likelihood that the Jamaican government of Prime Minis-
ter Michael Manley is the most inept of all the Western governments that fancies itself
democratic" and to "economic policies imposed on the country that could have been
jointly designed by the Yippies, Jane Fonda and the most advantageous liberals in the
Some articles suggest that the government is headed towards communism (e.g. Carl T.
Rowan 'Could Jamaica Go Communist?', Feb. 29/76); Miami Herald article, Feb. 5/76,
'Issue of Cuban-style state keeps pot aboil in Jamaica.') In the latter article the source
that is quoted most fully is the Jamaica Manufacturers Association.23
2) negative features on socialist countries and about socialism, for example, a series in the
Sunday Gleaner by the Russian dissident, Andrei Sakharov (April 25, May 2, 9, 16). Some
of the features on socialism during the month of February were: 'Capitalism and those
Socialists' (Feb. 9); 'To Jamaica, With Love from Democratic Socialism' (Feb. 15)-an
article which refers to democratic socialism as an "illegal alien in Jamaica"; 'In Russia
Protest grows among workers but slowly' (Feb. 16); 'Kremlin's grand design for Africa'
(Feb. 24); 'Jamaica and the Cuban Pattern' (Feb. 26); 'The Communists and Italy-will
there be a new Dictatorship?' (Feb. 27).
Editorial page prominence was given to anti-communist features by the so-called
"Christian Women Agitators for Truth", a title which it is highly unlikely that Jamaican
women would think of, and a group individual which remains anonymous (Jan. 25,
May 16, 1976).
3) letters to the editor, of which the vast majority commenting on the political scene, are
anti-socialist. (My research indicates that in February, of the politically-oriented editorial
page letters, over 90% are anti-socialist).
4) giving voice to several columnists of whom one is pro-socialist, while the rest engage in
negative and destructive criticism and ridicule (see, for example, Richard Savage, Feb. 1, 8;
Malcolm Sharp, Feb. I11, 16, 23; Thomas Wright, Feb. 3, 4, 5, 11, 16, 25; Native Son,
Feb. 3, 5).
5) selling space for highly emotive ads to "Save Jamaica Forum", another anonymous
group which is "dedicated to the prevention of Communism in Jamaica" (April 9, 19;
May 1976). The Daily News also sold ads to this group).
Role of the Media
This paper has observed that all major Jamaican media are dependent on advertising
for profits and that advertising is often in conflict with developmental goals; that the tele-
vision station is dominated by American entertainment and that the radio stations feature
a large proportion of foreign popular music. No entertainment is culturally neutral and
foreign entertainment is often a negative factor in terms of development because the
values emphasized may be dysfunctional to another culture. Beltran isolates some values
of American society which may be inappropriate to developing countries, such as, in-
dividualism predominating over collectivism mnd competition over co-operation."
One solution to the problem of cultural inappropriateness is to encourage the intra-
regional flow of programmes. The Caribbean Broadcasting Union has sponsored some co-
operative radio programming and wants to increase the exchange of television programmes
throughout the area. The immediate need is the purchase of standardized equipment to
make possible the interchange of programmes. The long-term need is for a regional pro-
grarimme production centre which would permit the most efficient use of limited resources.
In relation to the electronic media it should also be noted that government is not even
exploiting the full potential of its own broadcast media to promote national goals. In fact
there is inevitable conflict of interests in a media system which is supposed to carry out
national objectives as well as make a profit!
The paper has also observed that the major newspaper has not so far subscribed to the
regional news agency and has, in early 1976 at least, given over many columns to an anti-
socialist campaign rather than a balanced consideration of ideas. In the interest of develop-
mental goals, the same space could have been devoted to constructive questioning and
criticism of concrete government programmes, none of which can be interpreted as com-
munist, but possibly as efforts to eradicate some of the conditions which tend to generate
support for communism.
In summary, the agenda which the Jamaican media are setting for the society may be
doing more to frustrate than to promote socio-political development. But are the media
capable of playing a significant role in relation to the development of all the people of a
Schattschneider has written that
All forms of political organization have a bias in favor of the exploitation of
some kinds of conflict and the suppression of others because organization is the
mobilization of bias. Some issues are organized into politics while others are
This is equally true of media organizations. The public agenda which they choose to
set by means of the items which they select or reject, and the relative prominence given
to items selected, is the agenda favoured by media owners. Media which operate in the in-
terests of a minority of the population are dysfunctional to development. Hence the own-
ership of the media is crucial.
Year after year, the IAPA (Inter-American Press Association) lauds Jamaica as one of
the countries where freedom of the press still exists. Freedom means here, of course,
"freedom from government control." But economic and class control are not considered;
one needs to ask "freedom for whom?" All Jamaicans do not have equal access to the
media; hence the media reflect those who do. As Stuart Hall puts it, the media "reproduce
the structure of domination/subordination which elsewhere characterises the system "26
Peru has recently engaged in an interesting attempt to allow for participation by more
people in the society. In order to put the print media in the hands of the majority, the
government has expropriated six private dailies and turned them into non-profit co-oper-
atives run by associations of workers, professionals, educators and intellectuals.27
Prime Minister Manley of Jamaica has repeatedly asserted that the government is not
considering taking over the press but he insists that the press "should be a multi-direction-
al channel of communication between all elements of society." 28 For that reason he has
suggested "people ownership" of the foreign-owned radio station, and proposes putting it
into the hands of popular institutions such as trade unions and farmers' organizations.
This seems similar to the Peruvian model which is a pioneer effort. Leaders of both coun-
tries seem convinced that it is worth struggling to devise a system in which neither the
government nor a wealthy minority controls the mass media messages.
This is the revised version of a paper presented to the Society for International Develop-
ment, Ottawa, Canada, June, 1976.
*An AP report from Washington states that the House Intelligence Committee's draft report says the
CIA planted stories with Reuters and foreign news media. The CIA director told the committee that
11 full-time agents posed as journalists. -(Gleaner, Jan 24/76).
The U.S. Senate report on Covert Action in Chile documents the extensive use of the media by the
CIA in 1970.
"The propaganda campaign included several components. Predictions of economic collapse under
Allende were replayed in CIA-generated articles in European and Latin-American newspapers. In re-
sponse to criticisms of El Mercurio by candidate Allende, the CIA, through its covert action resources,
orchestrated cables of support and protest from foreign newspapers, a protest statement from an inter-
national press association, and world press coverage of the association's protest. In addition, journalists
-agents and otherwise travelled to Chile for on-the-scene reporting ...
Second, the CIA relied upon its own resources to generate anti-Allende propaganda in Chile. These
efforts included: support for an underground press; placement of individual news items through
agents; financing a small newspaper; indirect subsidy of Patria y Libertad, a group fervently opposed
to Allende, and its radio programs, political advertisements, and political rallies; and the direct mailing
of foreign news articles to Frei, his wife, selected leaders, and the Chilean domestic press.
Third, special intelligence and "inside briefings" were given to U.S. journalists, at their request.
One Time cover story was considered particularly noteworthy. According to CIA documents, the Time
correspondent in Chile apparently had accepted Allende's protestations of moderation and constitu-
tionality at face value.
Briefings requested by Time and provided by the CIA in Washington resulted in a change in the
basic thrust of the Time story on Allende's September 4 victory and in the timing of that story."18
The report also notes that the CIA claims that during a six-week period partial returns show that
its campaign resulted in 726 articles, broadcasts, editorials, and similar items in the Latin-American
and European media. And the agency points out that it had no way to measure the multiplier
effect (p. 25).
REFERENCES AND NOTES
1. For the purposes of this paper, the term 'mass media' will be limited to consideration of daily
newspapers and electronic media.
2. UNESCO, Reports and Papers on Mass Communication, No. 65, The Practice of Mass Com-
munication by Lakschmana Rao, Y. V., 1972, p. 43.
3. McCombs, Maxwell and Shaw, Donald L., "The Agenda-setting Function of Mass Media". Public
Opinion Quarterly, Vol. 36, Summer, 1972.
4. Cohen, Bernard, The Press and Foreign Policy (Princeton University Press, 1963), p. 13.
5. UNESCO, Reports and Papers on Mass Communication. No. 70, Television traffic-a one-way
street? by Nordenstreng, Kaarle and Varis, Tapio, 1974.
6. Schiller, Herbert I., "Authentic National Development Versus the Free Flow of Information
and the new Communications Technology", in Communications Technology and Social Policy,
by Gerbner, George (ed) et al (John Wiley & Sons, N.Y.. 1973), p. 470.
7. The U.S. is one of the strongest proponents of this concept and practises it to a considerable ex-
tent, but recently suppressed communications-related material in that country includes: a) Dorf-
man, Ariel and Mattelart, Armand, "How to Read Donald Duck". Imperialist Ideology in the
Disney Comic (International General, Great Britain, 1975). According to a statement from the
publisher dated Oct., 1975, the English edition of this work of Latin American communication
researchers was seized by U.S. Customs on 22nd June, 1975 (Customs Entry No. 499903).
b) Agee, Philip. Inside the Company: CIA Diary (Penguin, Great Britain, 1975). It is well
known that American ex-CIA officer Agee had to publish his book in England. The CIA has
vowed to try to prevent publication in the USA.
c) Veteran CBS journalist Daniel Schorr has recorded the attempts to suppress the scandals he
uncovered in relation to the Nixon administration and the CIA. (Rolling Stone, April 8, 1976,
8. UNESCO. op. cit. (see note 5).
9. Mayers, Harry, General Manager, CANA. Interview with the author, Jamaica, May, 1976.
10. UNESCO, No. 1185/BMS./RD/MC. THE COMMONWEALTH CARIBBEAN: Regional co-oper-
ation in news and broadcasting exchanges: Report of a survey mission, Nov.-Dec., 1968, by
Roppa, Guy M. and Clarke, Neville E., pp. 1-2.
11. Ibid., p. 94.
12. Ibid., p. 13.
13. UNESCO MASS COMMUNICATION (CARIBBEAN), The Caribbean News Agency, Report of
Dich, J. De Cros, 1973, p. 10 (mimeographed).
14. Ibid., p. 10.
15. Interview with General Manager of CANA (see note 9).
17. Cholmondeley, Hugh N.J., Co-ordinator, UNDP/UNESCO Mass Communication (Caribbean
Project), The CANA Mission, 1974 (final report).
18. Covert Action in Chile 1963-1973. Staff Report of the Select Committee to study Govern-
mental Operations with respect to Intelligence Activities. United States Senate, Dec., 1975,
U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, No. 052-070-03145-0. (80c).
19. The Royal Commission Report on Violence in the Communications Industry. Interim Report.
Toronto, Jan., 1976, III, p. 28.
20. Ibid., p. 28.
21. Senator Gratton O'Leary, quoted in Kari Levitt, "Dependence and Disintegration in Canada",
New World Quarterly. IV, 2, 1968, p. 63.
22. Hosein, Everold N., "Communication Issues in the Commonwealth Caribbean", COMBROAD,
No. 31, 1976, p. 10.
23. At the time the final draft of this paper is being written, the Gleaner has accompanied the re-
print of an article from the New York Times (Aug. 2, 3, 1976) with a statement that they "do
not know the sources of Mr. Davis' information, some of which-is inaccurate," and that a pro-
minent Jamaican would be commenting on the article in the Gleaner later in the week. This is a
24. Beltran, Luis, "Alien Premises, Objects and Methods in Latin American Communication Re-
search," Communication Research: An International Quarterly, 3: 2April, 1976, p. 115.
25. Schattschneider, E. E., The Semi-Sovereign People. (New York, Holt, Rinehart and Winston,
1960), p. 71.
26. Hall, Stuart. "The 'structured communication' of events," in Getting the message across (Paris,
UNESCO Press, 1975), p. 143.
27. For further discussion of the subject of media and national development in Latin America, see
papers by Beltran, Luis Ramiro and Bordenave, Juan Diaz. (It is also interesting to note that Le
Monde of France was formed and is run by an employees co-operative).
28. Address to the Press Association of Jamaica. The Jamaica Daily News, Dec. 14, 1975.
29. Interview by David D'Costa. The Sunday Gleaner, Aug. 3, 1975.
Dr. Fidel Castro, Prime Minister and First Secretary of the Communist Party in Cuba,
is the most popular and prestigious, if not the most powerful political leader in the west-
These observations are reflected in the mass media of Cuba, the rest of the Caribbean,
and Latin America. They report on the visits of prominent visitors from the communist,
capitalist and Third-World blocs, and their favourable reactions to and comments on
developments in the "Pearl of the Antilles".
Within the island, there is exciting intellectual ferment, stimulated by two candidates
worthy of winning the Nobel Prize for Literature: the veteran national poet Nicolas
Guillen, and the novelist Alejo Carpentier.
Mass media, under the direction of the Central Committee of the 200,000-member
Communist Party, have adopted the triple goals of "agitation, propaganda, and organiz-
ation". They were set forth in 1901 in Lenin's article "Where to Begin".
Cuban communicators present their readers, listeners and viewers, both locally and
overseas, with relatively reliable reports on most important political, economic, social,
athletic, literary, educational, and cultural happenings. There are missing ingredients, such
as news about any major or minor internal tensions and disagreements; interpretative
columns, especially about foreign events, are written with the ideological criteria of the
Certainly, Castro has enough emotional security and internal support-as well as ex-
ternal acclaim-to permit a healthy discussion of his government and programmes. He has
been in power 17 years, second-longest in the hemisphere only to the 22 years of General
Alfredo Strossner of Paraguay. The regime has attained a sense of maturity, as evidenced
by the holding of the First Congress in December 1975, and the adopting of a constitution
to replace Batista's, suspended in 1959.
Article 52 of the 141 articles guarantees liberty of expression. It affirms:
Citizens have freedom of speech and of the press in keeping with the object-
ives of socialist society. Material conditions for the exercise of that right are
provided by the fact that the press, radio, television and other organs of the
mass media are state or social property and can never be private property.
This assures their use at the exclusive service of the working people and in the
interests of society. The law regulates the exercise of the freedoms.
That provision would not have been adopted without the approval of Castro. However,
the important consideration is his sense of the word "freedom"-a sense similar to Com-
munists around the world: a responsibility to present an interpretation helpful to the
Party and to refrain from that which might harm.
Journalists' View-Resolutions of the First Congress
Delegates to the First Congress of the Communist Party demonstrated that they shared
Fidel's views by challenging journalists to criticize certain aspects of society and them-
A resolution termed the media significant institutions "for the political, ideological,
moral and aesthetic education of the people". The document requested the press and
cinema "to popularize Marxist-Leninist ideology, the Party Lines, the main aims of
socialism, activities of the Young Communist League, and other mass organizations."
Delegates declared that socialism is a higher form of democracy and that the workers
have a right to know, to receive information. Delegates stressed the necessity of increas-
ing news coverage of foreign affairs. They recommended more coverage of socialist
nations, class struggles of labour and capital in capitalist countries, national liberation
movements, opposition to imperialist and transnational domination, and revolutionary
trends in underdeveloped areas in Latin America, Africa, Asia and the Caribbean. They
suggested that media be utilized in a well-planned, organized approach throughout the
school system, from pre-school through university.
The document did call for more criticism of all areas of social development. Internally,
such criticism would encompass "artistic, literary, scientific, technical, and sports activ-
ities. It includes the shortcomings which may exist in the political, mass, and social in-
stitutions of the revolution and implies critical analysis of the economic administration
and social service activities of the state agencies."
Both in and out of Cuba, "The exercise of criticism should cover every sphere of our
social development. It concerns the struggle against manifestations of bourgeois and
petty-bourgeois ideology and the diverse forms of negative and anti-social behaviour
which arise from it."
Concern about restrictions or limitations on freedom to criticise completely is another
aspect of the resolution. "Criticism through the mass media must strictly observe the con-
structive and fraternal nature which is to be the overriding characteristic of criticism
The document called on journalists to "devote special attention to the development of
a truly revolutionary and socialist style in the use of the various forms and techniques of
expression. It should be free from sensationalism, superficialities, tendencies to find easy
ways out, imitation of decadent trends of the capitalist world, and concessions to bad
taste and vulgarity". After 17 years, there may be a movement to develop a systematic
One assumes such a theory will retain Lenin's triple goals of agitation, propaganda, and
Party organization, but develop them more completely and in terms of Cuba's concept of
its role in the Caribbean, the Americas and the rest of the world.
Meanwhile, the Central Committee members who address journalists' gatherings suggest
ways must be found to implement the Leninist approach of 70 years ago. They include
such highly regarded persons as Isidoro Malmierca; Carlos Rafael Rodriquez Rodriquez;
Blas Roca; Jorge Enrique Mendoza, editor of Granma. Haydee Santamaria, director of
Casa de las Americas. the largest book publisher: Ernesto Vera. General Secretary of the
Union of Journalists of Cuba (UPEC); and Nicolas Guillen, poet-president of the Union of
Writers and Artists of Cuba (UNEAC).
Malmierca, a member of the Secretariat of the Party's Central Committee, discussed
the current relevance of Lenin in an address at the 10th anniversary of the founding of
the party daily, Granma. on October 4, 1975:
Lenin's concept of propaganda is not that commonly held by many of us,
that is, a synonym for giving out information devoid of content or objective.
With this term, Lenin differentiates between agitational work whose immedi-
ate objective is to arouse the people into action and is mostly based on
slogans and events of the moment-and propaganda, that is, the work of fur-
thering the people's awareness and popularizing Marxism and the scientific
foundation of the policy of the Party, the main objective of which is to make
people think and analyze, to enrich the political culture of the masses and
ideologically arm the Party members.
In the ideological education of party members and the general public, Malmierca
added, the press must not limit itself to publishing theoretical articles. He called also for
criticisms of "manifestations of bourgeois ideology. A correct ideological approach to an
economic, cultural, political or any other article can be just as educative as a theoretical
article." So, in his view, style and stress are as important as subject.
Granma and The Granma
Granma. the nation's largest and most influential newspaper, is named after the
launch, The Granma that transported the exiled Fidel Castro and 81 comrades from Vera
Cruz, Mexico, to Cuba December 2, 1956, for the two-and-a-half-year fight against Batista.
Literature and letterheads of all Cuban institutions note that this year (1976) marks
the 20th anniversary of the invasion of The Granma.
The four editions of Granma have a significant internal and external influence-intern-
ally in educating and sustaining the Cubans on the island, and externally in propagandiz-
ing about Cuban achievements.
The primary edition is published under the editorship of Mendoza six days a week for
about 500,000 subscribers in Cuba. International editions-containing a weekly, 8-to-12
page, two-section summary of the daily-are published each Sunday for several hundred
thousand overseas readers in Spanish, English and French. Editor of the weekly review is
Alberto Rubiera. All four editions highlight on the front page a picture of Fidel or other
leaders, talking with distinguished visitors of a primary or secondary level.
By 1961, the privately-owned press had been closed or confiscated; facilities were shut
down or taken over by the government. Communists seized El Mundo (The World) and
operated it until 1964. Then its plant was turned over to the staff of the new youth-
oriented daily, Juventud Rebelde (Rebellious Youth).
A new daily, Revolucion, was the official Castro newspaper from 1959 until 1965,
when it was merged with Hoy (Today) to form Granma. Hoy, a Communist daily started
in 1938 with aid from Batista-who backed the opposition to play both sides-had been
suppressed in 1951. But it reappeared in 1959, taking over the plant of Alerta, a daily
Subsequently, Granma has appeared regularly except for February 26-28, 1967, when
a paper shortage forced cancellation of three editions. Its continuity has established the
daily as the pre-eminent voice of the Communist Party.
The editor, Jorge Enrique Mendoza, speaking before co-workers on the 10th annivers-
ary, described the important double-functions of the staff. They are to set forth Marxist-
Leninist theory and report on the ideological and political leadership of the party.
The paper is passed from reader to reader and probably reaches at least one-third of
the 9 million people on the island. The literacy campaigns, initiated by 100,000 univers-
ity students 15 years ago. have helped to make Cuba a nation of hungry readers.
In 1975 and 1976, Granma has focused attention on the nation's anniversaries, to in-
dicate that Cuba has received respectability and that the revolution has gained stability
and international status. The major continuing story has been what has stemmed from the
decisions of the First Congress of the Communist Party in December 1975. Always the
focus is threefold.
As Rubiera said.
The Weekly Review is part of our revolutionary press. The Party has assigned
us an important and moving task, which we share with other organs of the
mass media which also have a foreign audience. It is the task of expressing our
friendship and gratitude to our brothers of the socialist community, especially
to our Soviet comrades; of reaffirming to our brothers of Asia, Africa, and
Latin America that Cuba will never fail them.
Other goals are telling the exploited workers of the capitalist countries that
proletarian internationalism guides our every step. And of telling the imperial-
ists, facists and traitors that the Cuban Revolution continues to be an uncon-
querable bastion of freedom and socialism.
In summary, the four editions,-one domestic, three international-provide Cuban and
overseas readers with considerable hard news about the island's development and its lead-
ers' interpretation of events in other nations, as well as much soft news of propaganda
Another significant daily centred on the Leninist triad of goals is Juventud Rebelde. It
-like Granma-is in its 11th year of publication and it appears six days a week.
Jorge Lopez is the young editor of this paper, which goes to about 200,000 youth on
the island and contains news of special interest to them. In addition to reports of activ-
ities of the 15-to-25 age group in Cuba and elsewhere in the world, the paper covers other
concerns of the Party (ideology, economic planning, political developments).
LPV, the weekly sports newspaper, spotlights the achievements of the nation's out-
standing athletes. Successes in the Pan-American Games and in the more recent Olympics
received special treatment, particularly the unprecedented twin gold medals of Alberto
Juantorena, Teofilo Stevenson, the heavyweight title winner there and in Munich four
Another publication directed internationally is the Life-like monthly, Cuba Inter-
nacional now in its eighth year. It features interpretative essays on happenings inside and
outside Cuba and uses a soft-sell, with a less strident ideological style.
Two bi-monthlies which are designed to influence the international student movement
are OCLAE and Tricontinental. Both appear in Spanish, and the latter in English and
French as well.
"OCLAE" are the initials of the publishing group, the Latin-American Continental
Students' Organization in Havana. In August 1976 that group sponsored a four-day advis-
ory meeting which helped make preparations for the lth World Youth and Student
Festival scheduled for summer 1978 in Cuba. The journal deals with activities of college-
age youth around the world. For example, issue eight in 1975 was devoted to university
developments in Chile following the overthrow of Salvador Allende. Articles described
teachers who were fired and listed, by name, students who had disappeared, were killed
or imprisoned. Changes in administration and curriculum were discussed.
Tricontinental is published by the Organization of Solidarity of the Peoples of Africa,
Asia and Latin America (AALAPSO) in Havana. Art and editorial comments of the com-
bined issue 46-47 in 1976 indicate the anti-U.S. and anti-imperialist thrust of the journal,
which presents lengthy, scholarly articles.
Articles deal with current anti-U.S. trends in Africa, comparing them with that contin-
ent as an American sphere of influence in 1960; Brazilian support of U.S. aims; the policy
of expanding multinational firms; the anti-gringo resolutions of the Second Congress of
the Puerto Rican Socialist Party; and cultural penetration by the Yankees into Asia.
Content analysts can learn much about Cuban trends and the thoughts of its leaders by
reading the above or other publications. Bohemia, a weekly news magazine, has superior
style and comprehensive coverage, even if ideologically slanted.
A few magazines are popular in style, content and orientation and many have large
circulations. Included are Mujeres (Women), which is distributed to about 150,000 read-
ers; Romances, Cine Cubano, and Deporte-El Derecho del Pueblo (Sports-The Right of
But most magazines are technical and go to small specialised audiences, ranging from
Comunicaciones to Cuba en el ballet. Some are directed to farmers with small plots, to
sugar growers, contractors, agricultural scientists, workers in automation, civil engineers,
stamp collectors, surgeons, attorneys, pharmacists, dentists, physicians, obstetricians,
And, of course, evidence of the most powerful military force in the hemisphere-next
to that of the U.S.-is the armed forces weekly, Verde Olivo (Olive Green). It is the colour
of the soldier's uniform-and is the dress of Fidel and brother Raul.
Casa de las Americas provides scholarly professional journals designed to serve and
reach all of the Caribbean as well as Central and South America. An example is the bi-
monthly Conjunto, directed to all persons interested in Latin American theatre.
Casa de las Americas also has published, for seventeen years now, a top-flight, bi-
monthly journal under its own name. This year's July-August issue devotes 120 of its 176
pages to the theme "Uruguay Bajo (Under) el Fasismo". One article, on the press, terms it
censured and under the influence of the Inter-American Press Association, North American
firms, and their allies. The author, Andres Moreno, attacks the military and police for
broadcasting official press releases on radio and television and says there are no threats
against independent voices.
Moreno adds that the clandestine press is rescuing the honour of Uruguay; small news-
sheets (mostly Communist) are pointing out the problems besetting the people. This
praise of the underground press is a reflection of the Cuban philosophy of journalism:
that nationalist independence movements need publications reflecting agitation and
Books and Intellectual Ferment
Casa de las Americas, the largest and most prestigious of about 10 publishing houses,
issues literary and other works of outstanding authors of the hemisphere. Its annual prize
competition, begun in 1960, attracts both beginning and veteran writers.
Interest in recognition and publication by this firm is shown by the 600 entries from
26 nations in 1975. More than 45 Latin-American writers from 22 countries served as
judges for material in the three categories: fiction; investigative, interpretative, or critical
essays or testimonies; and books for children or adolescents.
An example of this publisher's quality work might be Cuentos de Guane (tales of the
village of Guane). This children's book was written by Nersys Felipe, an elementary
school art and music teacher, with profuse and vivid illustrations by Manuel Castellanos.
Collectively, Cuban publishing houses annually turn out about 35 million books and
pamphlets, compared with about a million in 1959, and import another 11 million. About
500,000 Cuban-produced books are exported. A large percentage of books go to schools,
libraries and state agencies, with about 13 million a year to the general public.
Foremost among the authors is Nicolas Guillen, 74, the national poet laureate, and
Alejo Carpentier, 72, a novelist who alternates between homes in France and Cuba. Both
have world reputations.
Guillen is acclaimed for his black or Afro-Cuban poetry. He has devoted nearly 50
years to writing poems and articles and delivering speeches about the contributions of
blacks to culture.
In 1975, Guillen addressed the 12th meeting of Officials of Unions of Writers of
Socialist Countries in Havana and spoke of his ideology and intellectual comradeship with
his revolutionary friends around the world:
For longer than a half-century Cuba was unable to think with its own head ...
until one day the people, following the call of Fidel Castro, made the memory
of Marti come alive and plunged themselves into the struggle to free their
country or die. Thanks to the generous and mighty help of the Socialist
camp, (they) were able to consolidate at last their true freedom.
The authors of the best literary works in Latin America are committed to this
anti-imperialistic struggle of independence which is in reality a struggle for
our second independence. They are aware of their patriotic duty, and have
put their blood into their inkwells or rubbed it onto their typewriter ribbons
so that their works have the taste of blood and can be guided by the defence
of the American ideal.
Some of the other Cuban authors who are living in their homeland and producing first-
rate books include such novelists as Miguel Barnet and Humberto Arenal; poets such as
Herberto Padilla, Roberto Fernandez Retamar, and Fayad Jamis: and short-story writers
such as Onelio Jorge Cardoso, Jesus Diaz and Anto Arrafat.
In 1976, Cuban and Soviet authors began intensified co-operative endeavours. Angel
Augier, vice-president of the Union of Writers and Artists of Cuba, termed such fraternal
relations "the best example of proletarian internationalism and socialist solidarity".
Authors from the two countries produced poetry from both nations and fiction from
Russia for a special issue of the Cuban magazine Union. Other literary collaborations will
include joint work on anthologies of Soviet drama, poetry and narratives.
Meanwhile, a Cuban-Soviet Mixed Work Group is co-ordinating other exchanges in
publishing translations and in literary exhibits. It stems from a five-year protocol on book
co-operation signed in Havana in 1974.
Approximately six million copies of 200 books by Cubans were printed in various
USSR languages in recent years. The Russian press prepared four million copies of 15
texts for Cuban schools last year and is preparing eight more for the professional and
technical orientation of Cuban youth. Bilateral co-operation will be extended, including
the printing of a 12-volume set of the Selected Works of V. I. Lenin in Spanish. The first
two volumes were distributed in honour of the First Congress of the Party.
Prensa Latina, Radio and TV
Prensa Latina is a wire service similar to Tass, in that the former also publishes both
news and analysis along the Communist ideological line.
Prensa Latina began in 1959 with a modest $600,000 budget, which is now estimated
at more than $4 million. Operations extend from an office at UN headquarters in New
York to various Caribbean and Latin-American capitals. Certainly, the reports of PL are
valuable to Cuba-watchers for indicating the current Communist party line.
Forty radio and 20 television stations reach beyond the 500.000 television and one-
and-a-half million radio sets of Cuba to the rest of the Caribbean and to much of Latin
America. Alfredo Vinas is general director of Radio Havana Cuba (RHC), which must
rank with the Voice of America as the most influential forces in international broadcast-
ing in the hemisphere.
RHC broadcasts in eight languages and on two or three frequencies for a total of 46
hours and 40 minutes. There are 22 hours in Spanish and 11 V in English, 4 1/3 in French,
three in Portuguese, two each in Quechua and Creole, and one each in Arabic and Guarani.
Quechua and Guarani are Indian languages used in Bolivia and elsewhere in South
America. Programming ranges from 31 newscasts to music of the Caribbean and Latin
Education and Training of Reporters
At times, Cuban journalists have seemed long on Marxist theory and short on com-
munications techniques. But there has been improvement in their reporting and editing
Even if journalists are as poorly paid now as in the Batista era, they currently seem to
be showing more honesty. This is in contrast to the Batista era, when Cuban journalists
were about the most bribe-prone in the Latin-American sphere, where la mordida (the
bite) prevailed. Under the weekly botella (bottle) system, they received handouts-tradi-
tionally, in earlier times, bottles of rum, but actually financial "subsidies" estimated to
total a few million dollars annually.
Much instruction for the 15,000 journalists on the island-and this number includes
many part-time stringers and unpaid volunteers-comes from on-the-job and continuing-
education programmes. Subjects range from socialist ideology to communications
In illustration, about 1,725 journalists are enrolled in special classes on the fundament-
als of Marxism. An additional 1,350 journalists are studying other subjects.
The best programme is in the Journalism School, begun in 1962 in the Faculty of
Humanities at the University of Havana. Dr. Nuria Nuiry and Rhaymalu Llanes are
Director and Secretary of International Relations respectively of that department, which
devotes attention both to Leninist-Marxist ideology and principles of journalism. In the
view of the administrators, practice follows theory; technique emerges from principle;
knowledge of subject influences style.
There are other, less imposing programmes at the Party cadre training school for about
25 students. Its programme is not as extensive, of course, as for the few hundred attend-
ing the University of Havana.
Ernesto Vera, general secretary of the Journalists Union of Cuba (UPEC), recently
announced plans to start a Latin-American Centre for Journalism Studies. One announced
aim is to counter the U.S. influence in some 100 Latin-American journalism schools,
several of whose faculties have received teaching and advisory aid from Fulbright-Hays
lecturers provided by the U.S. Department of State.
Vera was a leader in the formation of the Latin-American Federation of Journalists
(FLP) by writers of 22 French- and Spanish-speaking nations of the Caribbean and Latin
America during July in Mexico City. This liberal group, which claims to represent 30,000
journalists, arose as a counter-force to the Inter-American Press Association (known as
IAPA or SIP).
Vera, at the recent FLP meetings, called U.S. imperialism "the main obstacle to be
faced by journalists who defend the interests of their peoples". He said Caribbean and
Latin-American journalists "are willing and ready to fight alongside the people in the
battle for the second and definitive independence".
Meanwhile, UPEC officials-led by the organizing secretary, Georgina Duvallon-are
attempting to improve journalism education. At the Fourth Plenary Meeting of UPEC this
summer, delegates voted to establish an Advanced Intermediate School of Journalism.
They adopted programmes for upgrading the political, cultural and technical training of
writers and editors.
The journalism union provides practical tips and professional stimulation through its
two bi-monthly house organs, Fotote'cnica and UPEC, published since 1968 and 1970
respectively. Features range from biographies of communicators to how-to-do-it articles.
UPEC presents two awards to honour distinguished communicators: its highest dis-
tinction, the Felix Elmuza Order, and the new Jose Marti medals. The latter will be for
journalists with outstanding records of at least a decade of service, whereas the former
may be for shorter periods of achievement.
American journalists should be aware of these new literary and journalistic trends in
Cuba Cuban Communists have always used the pen to crusade for their beliefs. Increased
dialogue is both valuable and necessary.
JAMES W. CARTY, JR.
(Specially edited by Janet Liu Terry)
THE REVOLUTIONARY FOCUS OF GUILLEN'S JOURNALISM
Nicolas Guille'n is a writer whose zest for his profession and zeal for human progress
are combined with three basic streaks in his personality-genuine altruism, sharp-witted
rationality and sustained militancy. The overriding interest and the burning passion of his
selected prose is revolutionary struggle in the service of humanity and this expresses itself
in his ardent fervour against Fascism and its related atrocities of racism, dictatorship and
philistinism on the one hand, and on the other, capitalism and its inevitable corollary,
Guille'n is forever intensely involved in the task of recording, internalising and interpret-
ing the events, scenes and people he encounters and, in the process, has developed an
approach to journalism that rises above the mere reporting of melodramatic and sensation-
al scenes and incidents. He is a revolutionary thinker and a serious analyst, a committed
"pensador" within the Latin American tradition-a lover of liberal ideas and principles
who is out in search of truth, justice, human understanding and human progress. He never
allows himself to get lost in empty polemics, yet he never evades a candid argument on
matters of public interest. He works like an adult-educator whose main motivation seems
always to be to have some message to transmit to his people without ever appearing to be
This tendency comes out strongly in his interviews in Spain and on his trips through
South America.1 He is constantly trying to perceive connections and parallels, trying to
deduce lessons and guidelines which would enhance the level of political and cultural
awareness not only in Cuba, but in the entire Caribbean and Latin American region. His
interview with the difficult and reticent Lieutenant-Colonel Modesto Guilloto during the
Spanish Civil War has a dramatic and anecdotal quality which illustrates the calibre of the
journalist with whom we are dealing-competent, determined, persistent, perceptive and
Now, from that moment, I decided to besiege him, cut short his retreat, in order to
get him to talk by any means. At the end of the function, I positioned myself on
the stairway so that my prospective victim could not escape. And right there I ac-
costed him as he came down ...
-Well, I have come to see you, because, as you well remember, I want to talk with
you to get your impressions of the war and some news about your own life, so that
people in Cuba and America might know about you.
-Listen ... I do not like these things. I believe that our task here and now is to fight;
there is no time for photographs and interviews. All the action is on the front over
there where there are facists.
-I think you are right, but only in part, Modesto. It is true that there is a lot to be
done and that this is not the time to go around posing for the cinema. Nevertheless,
I am sure it is your duty to speak to the people, not only the people of Spain who al-
ready know you and love you, but also the peoples of America who love you even
without knowing you. All the masses of the Americas are supporting Spanish demo-
cracy, supporting the Republic, and any mention of your fighters stirs deepest sym-
pathy and affection. How can you refuse to fight in this way for those very ideals
that you defend with arms? That seems to me ...
Modesto remains silent for a moment and finally accedes ...
In the spirit of that tradition of thinkers who move ahead of their societies and map
out a liberal path for the development of their societies. Guillen places his poetry and
prose at the service of his people, directing their attention towards democracy and revolu-
tion. It is in this spirit that he rejects racism, and courageously opposes fascist dictatorships
and chooses to assess the Cuban situation in Revolutionary terms,-identifying the histori-
cal and socio-economic forces that determine both the conditions of his people's existence
and the nature of these relationships in that society. It is this analysis and understanding
of the real conditions of life in his society, in the region and in the wider world, that con-
stantly feeds a genuine altruism and supports his Revolutionary stance.
Intense human sympathy and understanding for suffering humanity and admiration
for generosity and heroism are complementary and parallel currents in Guille'n's prose, as
in his poetry. He is acutely sensitive to situations in which people are placed at a dis-
advantage and manipulated in the interests of others. Not infrequently, these are circum-
stances that others are likely to take for granted, but they move the poet-journalist to re-
spond profoundly to an underlying human anguish or struggle. At the same time, he al-
ways recognizes the positive dimensions of each traumatic experience and the possibilities
for Revolutionary consciousness and action.
His account of an encounter with a child in Spain during the Civil War combines this
sympathy and admiration in a way that eliminates any trace of pity or condescending
I cannot forget those days when in one of those little towns found along the dram-
atic Spanish roads, I met a child who impressed me profoundly. He was half-naked,
dressed only in short pants, and only about ten years old. When I saw him I ap-
proached him with the intention of trying to decipher something like a tattoo
etched into his slender, brown arms. On one arm, in fact, I read, written in ordin-
ary ink: "Death to the Fascists"; on the other there was the inscription: "They will
not pass". I spoke with the child and learned that he was from Madrid where he al-
ways lived until he was forced to flee because of air raids. I learned that he had lost
two brothers, children like himself, slain by bombers while playing at home. He was
left with his mother alone, as his father had been killed on the battle-front. As I
shook his hand, which he stretched out seriously, to say goodbye, he added: "Here,
we are all poor; no one here has a thousand pesetas; we all work, and for the Franco
forces to win, they will have to kill all of us!!"
Similarly when he reviews the economic situation of the Haitian labourer in Cuba it
becomes the starting point for a simultaneous review of the attributes and achievements
of the Haitian people as a whole. He is sensitive to the language barrier and its related
frustrations, the racial prejudice against the Haitian Negro, the modern versions of exploit-
ed Haitian slave labour on the Cuban sugar plantations, and popular prejudices against the
poor migrant workers who invade Oriente Province and Camaguey. But against that pic-
ture he has clear ideas of the Haitian people as being "simple, kind, frugal, intelligent and
clean" and, above all, "courageous in struggle in spite of an absence of material and spirit-
ual help from outside."
His contact with the Colombian oil-field workers of Barranca is the occasion for a
touching exchange of ideas and sentiments between a poet-intellectual and a simple
field hand, both of whom share a love for the creative and a deep sense of nationalism:
"It is the first time that a poet or writer is coming here," that man whose skin was
burnished by the sun told me. "They never come, neither the foreign ones nor the
native ones. As far as the intellectuals are concerned, we do not exist; and the same
applies to the owners of this enterprise. Nevertheless, we enjoy poetry and books
and we want to learn. Another thing: If you go back to Cuba, say that although we
work out here, we are, first of all, Colombians. You already know the rest. .5
Guille'n's response to this little speech is one of deep emotion: sadness tempered with
hope, rather than despair. His new mission is to encourage more writers to leave their
comforts and go out to communicate with the working man whose sensitivity is never
dulled by hard manual labour.
This is an unquestionable call for revolutionary identification rather than mere patron-
age. His basic criterion for heroism is unselfish service and sacrifice in the Interests of the
proletariat. He sees Jose Martf, Antonio Maceo amd Maximo Gdmez as paradigms whose
intellectual and military prowess was placed at the service of the masses with a sense of
dedication and selflessness that made personal sacrifice a matter of duty rather than a
favour. Ignacio Agramonte in the 1860s and 70s, like Juan Marinello in the 1930s and 40s
are men who left their aristocratic social circles, shed all the trappings of vain intellectual-
ism and refinement to don the garb of the working class in struggle. As he says of Marin-
ello, "by virtue of a process of self-sublimation, he was able to rise to the level of the peo-
ple and begin a face-to-face dialogue with the man in the street." 6
This preoccupation with the interests and destiny of the working class is not just a
literary fad for Guille'n. It is an altruistic involvement in a desperate struggle for self-
defence, and for self-determination. It is a political and economic struggle against exploit-
ation and its off-shoots; a universal human struggle which transcends territorial and racial
barriers without losing its immediacy of focus and purpose in each locale:
There is one simple truth which must be driven home to the spirit of our people:
over and above any red, yellow, black or white colour, there looms the terrible fact
of material inequality, that monstrous distribution of the world's goods, and it is
necessary to fight for a more just and equitable distribution. Where? Everywhere. In
China, against Japan and those Chinese who turn their backs on their own people;
in Venezuela, against governments that allow the English and the Germans to suck
out all the oil from its soil rapaciously; in the West Indies, against the greed of the
sugar, banana and mining interests of the United States; in Spain, against Italy and
Germany who dream of taking over by blood and fire an expanse of territory which
ought only to belong to those who labour on it and defend it.7
This is the major issue with which Guill6n feels the writer and intellectual must come
A poet, a writer or an intellectual, as a man, has no right, in our times, to sit back in
peace; he must take his stand among the ranks of those other men who are not intel-
lectuals but who are working for a noble ideal of a common culture.8
For the creative writer, this stand is both a matter of duty and a way of surviving as an
artist. Guillen insists that the source of creative energy, "the eternal cell of true art", lies
in the depths of the ordinary man's experience-the man in the street or the fields, sol-
diers, tramps, porters and prostitutes, people who struggle to survive. This is the raw
material that feeds and informs his creative writing and provides its revolutionary focus.
This firm alignment on the side of the masses implies an open rejection of the pursuit of
"pure art" that characterized modernist writing of the later nineteenth and early twenti-
eth centuries. Guillen condemns this purist position, which idolised Paris as its spiritual
Mecca, as a bourgeois sell-out of creativity to the capitalist. The man of letters in the pre-
First World War era was "an animal domesticated by the man of financial means" 9 work-
ing to satisfy the interests of a class that despised him deep inside. Capitalism then was
not only a means of economic production; it had a peculiar means of literary production
as well based in the education, orientation and remuneration of the writer in that kind of
The first significant assault on the security of that literary position was the outbreak
of the First World War which stirred up reactions that shocked writers into some even
more abstruse and isolationist positions such as Dadaism and Surrealism. The basic econ-
omic and literary order had not been effectively shaken. The foundations were still intact
while preparations were being made for the second impending confrontation-the Franco
uprising that led to the Spanish Civil War-which proved to be the really effective bomb-
shell as far as writers and intellectuals were concerned. The scandalous barbarism of the
Fascist rebels, the tragic death of Federico Garcia Lorca, and the blatant threat to liberty
and democracy shocked the sensibility of the most isolated, and catapulted them into the
ranks of the revolutionary front. Philosophers, painters, novelists and poets like Julien
Benda, Heinrich Mann, and Pablo Neruda joined with Loukol Youcef, Ludmil Stoyanoff,
Novemesky, Anderson Nexo, Litika Nakos, Se-U, Jacques Roumain, Cesar Vallejo, Nicola's
Guillen, Juan Marinello, Octavio Paz and Josd Mancisidor in a united and anguished out-
cry against the inhumanity and barbarism of the "franquistas" (Franco insurgents) and
their Italian and German mercenaries.
The contribution of the Spanish Civil War to the revolutionary awakening of Guillen is
best understood in the context of the impact of any such traumatic experience among the
Spaniards on leading Latin American writers in the twentieth century. Firstly, it was the
Spanish-American War of 1895-98 which hurled Rub6n Dario from his Modernist "ivory
tower" with his purist preoccupations with art for art's sake and drew harsh words of pro-
test against the imperialist activities of the Unites States at the turn of the century.
Secondly, the Spanish Civil War became a crucial turning-point in the experience of Pablo
Neruda, Ce'sar Vallejo and Nicolas Guill6n, among others, who were de facto witnesses of
the Spanish saga. Together they analysed and bemoaned the horrors of the Civil War and
together they symbolised the traumatic effects of the experience in the emotive titles of
their poems dedicated to that struggle: Espalia en el corazdn (Neruda), Espafia, aparta de
mf este caliz (Vallejo) and EspaiTa, poema en cuatro angustias y una esperanza (Guillen).
GuillCn's case ought not to be looked at in isolation, since for these three poets in parti-
cular, it was a shared response and a common awakening that brought them to the cross-
roads in their conception of their roles as artists, especially in relation to the dispossessed
peoples of Spain and Latin America. It represented for them the discovery of a new
commitment to the popular struggle for liberation through world communism.
The case of Pablo Neruda is passionately and convincingly articulated in his long poem
(or perhaps better seen as a collection of related poems) Espafia en el coraz6n which ap-
peared in 1937 during the heat of the Spanish Civil War. In the section sub-titled "Explico
algunas cosas" he explains the gruesome reality that shocked him out of his self-insulation:
And one morning everything was burning,
and one morning bonfires
were bursting forth from the earth
devouring living beings,
and from then on, fire,
dust from then on,
and from then on, blood...
You will ask why his poetry
does not speak to us of dream, of leaves,
of the great volcanoes of his native land?
Come and see blood in the streets,
come and see
blood in the streets
come and see blood
in the streets! 10
The "conversion" which led Neruda to this new approach to poetry is significant for a
man who had always seen the world through the eyes of an anguished and pessimistic re-
cluse whose world of disintegration, broken objects, corrosion, destruction, death and
grief held him engrossed in self-contemplation, self-indulgence and self-alienation. The
Civil War now led him dramatically into communism, in an experience described by
Amado Alonso as:
Not a conversion to God, but to his fellow man, in fact, a genuine conversion in a
technical psychological sense: all his spiritual forces both active and dormant, sud-
denly mobilised and organised with new magnetisation, fired with new enthusiasm,
justified by and satisfying new goals. "
It is this new experience and a new vision of the world and humanity that led him to
identify positively with the "People's Army" in the section subtitled, "Oda solar al Eje'r-
cito del Pueblo":
... Brothers, go forward,
forward through ploughed lands,
forward in the dry and sleepless night, delirious and threadbare...
In the meantime,
root and garland rise out of silence
to await the mineral victory:
every instrument, every red wheel,
every saw handle or plough-share,
every extract from the soil, every tremor of blood
wishes to follow your steps, Army of the People:
your organised light reaches the poor
forgotten men, your well defined star
drives its raucous rays into death
and establishes the new eyes of hope.12
His poem Reunion bajo las nuevas banderas leaves a clear testimony of that conversion.
His activities as editor of the journal Los Poetas del Mundo defienden al Pueblo Espanol
(1936) and as co-founder (with Vallejo) of "El Grupo Hispanoamericano de Ayuda a
Espana" (1937) reinforce that poetic testimony through concrete action.
The case of Vallejo, though similar, is perhaps less dramatic. Like Neruda, he knew in-
tense solitude and deep anguish and pain but these are not always related to mere meta-
physical concerns. More often than not the harsh conditions of poverty, strain and poor
health lie at the root of his own suffering. This kind of personal experience which is not
tinged with inordinate self-indulgence makes it easy for Vallejo to identify with suffering
humanity in the struggle for survival. In fact, his poems in Espafia, aparta de mi este ciliz
(1938) mark the maturing phase of concerns which had been developing in his earlier
poetry, Los heraldos negros (1918), and in his only novel, Tungstens (1931). From that
early stage, Vallejo had identified with the Indian labourers among whom he had grown
up, so that the Spanish Civil War served mainly to deepen his basic concern for all suffering
humanity. Similarly, his adoption of communism provided not only a possible answer to
the socio-economic evils of the world but a faith that brought light and hope in the face
of the tragedy of the human condition as he knew it. Refusing to be hamstrung by dog-
matism and accepting as his main guide the demands imposed by indigence, hunger and
pain, he stands firm in his conviction that the writer must ally himself with the working
class and enter into the struggle for justice, brotherhood and solidarity.
Guillen's own response to the Spanish Civil War must be understood against the back-
ground of his ideological development in the years immediately prior to the outbreak of
the war. The poet-journalist had really only emerged as a public figure in 1930 with the
publication of his dialect poems Motivos de son based on the experience of Negroes in an
urban slum area. This publication had been preceded by a series of newspaper articles 3
and one particular poem14 published in the Diario de la Marina in 1929, which had open-
ed up a vibrant public debate on the place of the Negro in Cuban society. Alongside dis-
tinguished public figures like Ingeniero Gustavo E. Urrutia and Lino Dou, Guillen was
being recognized and watched as a defender of the rights of the Negro and a possible
source of constant opposition to reactionary forces in the society. The publication of
Songoro Cosongo (1931) and West Indies Ltd. (1934) during the troubled period of
popular antipathyto the dictatorship of Machado and the undisguised support he received
from the United States, brought Guillen into the spotlight, no longer as a mere debater
but as a leading voice in a growing outcry of social protest.
The years 1935 to 1937 were the decisive years in his ideological evolution. At first,
GuillJn accepted a job as a civil servant in the Municipal Dept. of Culture in Havana early
in 1935 but found himself progressively moving left politically, that is, contrary to the
current of the reactionary government of Carlos Mendieta which was closing down leftist
newspapers published by the Communist Party of Cuba and the Anti-Imperialist League
of Cuba. In the meantime Guillen the civil servant was being invited to serve on the
Editorial Boards of the Communist Party journal, Resumen (April 1935) and the Marxist
writers'journal, Mediodia (June 1936).
The open split came in August 1936 when Guillen lost his job with the government be-
cause of his involvement in anti-government demonstrations. His arrest, brief imprison-
ment and trial for "subversive and pornographic" activities left no one in doubt as to his
real ideological position. This became more fully enunciated in his next book of poems,
Cantos para soldados y sones para turistas (1937) in which he consolidated an already
militant stand adopted in West Indies Ltd. A revolutionary outlook emerges in his call for
soldiers to rejoin the ranks of the working class and turn their arms on the forces of op-
pression. The protest songs became far too virulent to be used for purposes of entertain-
ment. They are bitter songs that rise from the depths of the "cancerous guts" of the
shanty-town folk from the "solar".
It is at this stage that Guillen looks to Spain and the crisis of the Fascist uprising with
all its atrocities. The picture he has gathered from as far away as Cuba and Mexico is one
that stirs him to write the touching poems entitled: Espa~ia, poema en cuatro angustias y
una esperanza (May 1937)-a work which synthesises the main thrust of the Latin Ameri-
can response to the painful struggle of the popular, republican movement in Spain to with-
stand the onslaught of the Fascists. In them he captures the anguished saga of a heroic
people being torn apart by demonic forces. He, in dramatic empathy, now shares the
anguish and horror that shook Neruda out of his cell and sealed Vallejo's destiny with the
What Guillen has done, better than the rest, is to apprehend and express in forceful
and emotive imagery the sentimental, "gut" connection of Latin Americans to the Span-
The root of my tree, twisted;
the root of my tree, of your tree,
of all our trees,
drinking blood, moist with blood,
the root of my tree, of your tree.
I can feel it...,
nailed into the depths of my earth
nailed there, nailed,
dragging me and lifting me and speaking to me,
shouting to me. s
When he finally turns towards Spain raising his voice of hope and optimism, and in clear
lyrical tones declares his unequivocal call for revolution, he is not engaging in mere
rhetoric. His pen is his weapon in the hard struggle alongside miners, muleteers, bar-
tenders, prisoners, waterfront workers, labourers and soldiers. It is not to be overlooked
that in that same year, in the height of the Spanish Civil War, Guille'n, while still in Spain,
was admitted to full membership of the Communist Party of Cuba.
This alliance of intellectuals and artists with the proletariat marks the dawning of a
new level of awareness and the acceptance of a non-bourgeois conception of the role of
the artist and thinker in the society. The idea of political militancy as a dimension of
literary activity becomes a credo based on the conviction that all human experience, and
especially that of "the people", forms the cultural sediment that gives art its vitality and
validity. This credo expresses itself in action and not just in empty rhetoric or mere pro-
fessions of sympathy:
A "sympathetic" stance is not enough; direct effort is essential; lukewarm support
which does not put anything at stake is not sufficient; rather what is required is
active, dynamic militancy which risks everything, sacrifices everything, offers every-
thing and gives everything.16
That ideological alignment takes on greater import than a mere liberal stand for demo-
cracy and justice. It has a clear socialist dimension almost of doctrinaire proportions
which underpins a strong revolutionary intent. This comment on the world situation in
the forties and the people's understanding of the forces at work against their interests
elucidates the ideological position by giving an almost text-book model assessment of an
international revolutionary situation:
... the contradictions of the capitalist mode of production have become so acute,
the conflicts among the different bands of "gangsters" anxious to share up the plan-
et amongst themselves, so obvious, and the scandals of that shambles of a family,
with all its defects and vices, called the bourgeoisie, so grave and frequent, that in
the end, there was no way of preventing the police from appearing and the neigh-
bourhood from being fully apprised . .They (the people) know very well what
class of interests, alien to the real popular interest, motivates these pantomimes in
France as much as in England, in Germany just as in Italy, and in the United States
as well as in Cuba. 17
International confrontation is viewed in the somewhat Manichean terms of the humane
revolutionaries versus a savage Nazi-fascist imperialist alliance. The former group comprises
the socialists, communists, liberals and the world proletariat whereas the second grouping
is that of the capitalist-imperialist interest led by the Nazi-fascist front and supported by
a powerful conservative bourgeois class. As he himself says of the struggle in Spain:
As one can see, it is a question of two spirits, two mentalities that are diametrically
opposed. On one side, there is the old Spanish nobility of spirit which treats the
fortunes of war with the purest elements of mercy; on the other side there is the
brutal blindness of the savage, the bloody impetus of Fascism which closes its eyes
to anything that might stem the absolute rule of force. Is
Guillin's interpretation of this international struggle therefore offers, at times, an
idealistic and sentimental quality which no doubt grew out of his deep faith in the people
and their capacity for struggle and endurance as well as his conviction that the capitalist
order was rapidly disintegrating. Whether history eventually proved him wrong or not, he
shared the confidence and faith in imminent victory of Lieutenant-Colonel Modesto and
the people of Madrid and Barcelona of whom he says that "they have enough courage to
resist and rise to the height of their destiny".9 He left no possibility for the Nazi and
Fascist devils to win, either against the Russian resistance or the Popular Front in Spain.
It was tantamount to refusing to admit the possible triumph of evil over good. Even in his
treatment of the Soviet attitude to culture and human progress he left no room for poss-
ible persecution or muzzling of freedom of expression and creativity. That kind of philis-
tine activity was restricted to the Nazi and Fascist camps. Justifiable as this view of the
Soviet Union as a peace-loving, culture-conscious and creative people might have been in
the early forties, from the vantage point of the seventies its idealism becomes readily
This idealism however seemed essential to the revolutionary action needed to change
the world order, particularly on the American scene. The situation in the Americas was
ripe for revolution-the abominable lynching of Negroes in the United States, the deplor-
able rule of Stenio Vincent in Haiti, political crimes and conservative dominance in
Colombia, saltpetre in Chile and sugar in the West Indies and Cuba. These all "breed the
same popular grief, the same anguish, the same misery and, fortunately, they also give rise
to the same rebellion".20 This is Guillen's basis for an effective revolutionary struggle-the
recognition of the weaknesses and evils of an inimical system combined with the idealism
and passion for a militant drive for change:
This is to say, we shall fight as long as there is an injustice to correct in Cuba; we will
show the people who are the terrible democrats that lynch Negroes in the South
and slander and condemn communists in the North; we shall ask for the freedom of
Albizu Campos day after day so that he can continue fighting for the liberation of
Puerto Rico; we will defend our country until it is free of enemies from outside and
inside, Fascists who dream of converting it into a Hitlerian fief, national traitors act-
ing as accomplices, kneeling before the foreigner.21
This is the militant spirit that produces the political satire of 1949 and 1952-53. Here
he takes a firm stand against Batista's attempt to hoodwink the masses into accepting his
empty pretensions of a protective and progressive democracy and underscores the horrors
of repression in a context where hunger, poor housing, low wages, poor sanitation, ex-
ploitation and dispossession can give rise to seething protest and revolutionary activity.
To deal with this provocative and explosive situation Guillen, the journalist-activist,
took recourse to lampoon, ridicule, caricature and at times almost reached the point of
virulence and acrimony in his satirical "decimas" and "coplas". It was the kind of open
confrontation in the newspapers that left no stones unturned in the public eye and which
was intended to damage the image of the successive corrupt and repressive Governments
of Carlos Prfo Socarras and Fulgencio Batista. The price of such journalistic militancy was
the closure of the communist newspaper Hoy edited by Guille'n in 1949 and the poet-
journalist's exile from 1953 to 1959. That kind of incisive prose and satirical poetry were,
in the eyes of the wounded parties, no less subversive and dangerous than the physical at-
tack on the Moncada barracks in 1953.
Like the popular singers whose voices rise from amongst the silent masses that patient-
ly bear the yoke, Guillen looks ahead with an optimistic, revolutionary vision and foresees
the day of reckoning when the heedless exploiters will be hung by the anguished songs of
I say this to you for there are terrible symptoms in these songs. In them is embodied
the presentiment that in the surly tameness of those people who hear the voice of
the singer there throbs, unnoticed, an intense but unexpressed anguish. Sometimes,
in the fiery heat of the harsh Antillean sun, it is likely to be the sugar-cane and
coffee labourer who bites his certain anger as he toils bending over the earth; at
other times, it may be the man born under the sign of cotton in the Yankee south,
in the bloody south of Jim Crow and Lynch where Negroes die burnt, tortured,
abused, harassed, hanged, with their bodies resounding tragically like bells over the
jokes of their assassins. Jazz and the "son" burst forth in tears and grind their teeth
with music, waiting for the first day of judgment when the syncopated rhythm will
coil round the neck of the oppressor. The hangmen dance around unconcerned; they
dance beneath the yellow light of their whips, the green light of their hatred, the red
light of their bonfires, the blue light of poison gas, the violet-coloured light of their
own putrefaction ... They dance merrily over the corpses of their victims, but they
will not escape their vengeance. 22
For Guillen, the Negro, and particularly the Negro of the Americas and the Caribbean,
has a special role to play in the militant avant-garde of the revolutionary struggle:
No one is anti-fascist like the Negro and few like the Cuban Negro, because he knows
that the very root of Fascism grows out of terrain fertilised by racial hatred and the
division of men into inferior and superior beings and that he, the Negro, has been as-
signed the lowest place ... The Negro, moreover, comprises the majority of the en-
slaved labouring class, and as such is painfully tied to the dismal economic process
of that semi-colonial society now being exploited by North American imperialism.23
This explains the leading role played by Negroes in the militant Trade Union Movement
of the forties-Lazaro Pena, Aracelio Iglesias, and Jesus Menindez-on the docks and in
the sugar belt.
Guille'n sees his personal commitment to struggle as being inevitable. It represents a
deep personal sense of destiny in his role as a writer and in his character as a Cuban and a
I wish then to affirm here and now a triple cause for my support for the Spanish
people: as a writer, because I am convinced that no one can be a self-respecting
writer without utilising his talent in the defence of culture; as a Cuban, because my
country is also engaged in a struggle against Fascism represented by a minority which
enslaves and exploits it, and which has the same character of those who rose up in
arms against the legitimate Government of Spain; and as a Negro, because Fascism
implies a check to the universalisation of the human spirit, a blocking of the dif-
fusion of the purest democratic principles and a stupid return to old stages which
are being overcome continuously by processes of development in the society.24
This fervent militancy permeates his prose, his speeches, his poetry. In large measure,
it represents the militant spirit of the youth and the revolutionary avant-garde in the dif-
ficult years of the forties and fifties. Not even the success of the Cuban revolution has
cooled that fiery spirit, for the poet-journalist still recognizes that until the cause of the
Chilean people, or that of the Negroes of the United States, or the struggle of the Asian
peoples, is over, his struggle in defence of culture and humanity is never ended.
J. A. GEORGE IRISH
NOTES AND REFERENCES
1. Spain-1937-38; South America-1937, 1945-48.
2. Nicolas Guillen, Prosa de prisa, La Habana, 1975, pp. 139-140.
3. Ibid., p. 150.
4. Ibid., pp. 232-233.
5. Ibid., p. 359.
6. Ibid., p. 237.
7. Ibid., pp. 107-108.
8. Ibid., p. 151.
9. Ibid., p. 147.
10. Pablo Neruda, Tercera Residencia (Buenos Aires, 1961), pp. 46-47.
11. Amado Alonso, Poes'a y estilo de Pablo Neruda, (Buenos Aires, 1968), pp. 348-349.
12. Neruda, op. cit., pp. 69-70.
13. "El camino de Harlem" (April 21); "La conquista del blanco" (May 5); "El blanco: he aqui el
problema" (June 9).
14. "Pequena oda a Kid Chocolate" (December 29).
15. Nicolas Guill4n, Obra Poetica, Vol. I, pp. 210-211.
16. N. Guillen, Prosa de prisa, op. cit, p. 102.
17. Ibid., p. 146.
19. Ibid., p. 123.
20. Ibid., p. 344.
21. Ibid.,p. 162.
22. Ibid., p. 347.
23. Ibid., p. 85.
THEME AND FORM IN THE SPEECHES OF
NORMAN MANLEY AND ERIC WILLIAMS
Skill in speaking and the practice of statecraft have been closely bound together since
Isocrates proclaimed the value of rhetoric as a means of giving practical effect to the ideals
of society. The classical scholar Jebb tells us that under the Isocratean system "the art of
speaking or writing on large political subjects [was] considered as a preparation for advis-
ing or acting in political affairs."' Fresh vindication of the ancient link between speech
and the conduct of government may be found through examination of the rhetoric of
modern West Indian society during its formative years from the eve of World War II,
through the events leading up to independence, and until the present. This period reveals
the development of a tradition of vigorous public address, for there occurs throughout
the Caribbean a remarkable concentration of native orators speaking with all the power
and versatility everywhere associated with the struggle of emerging free governments.
The speakers chosen for consideration, Norman Washington Manley of Jamaica and
Dr. Eric Williams of Trinidad and Tobago, are among those who may readily be associated
with the nation-building processes occurring in the English-speaking Antilles. Their
speeches have been examined to determine not only the content and form of the ideas,
but also the extent to which those ideas were the product of both the speakers'own qual-
ities and the influence of the thought and feeling of their time, including the modifying
effects exerted by their particular audiences.
Perhaps the most important key to understanding the West Indian audience is the
recognition that the current social and political climate of West Indian society is deeply
rooted in the past history of the area. Numerous commentators have described the mani-
festations of the colonial legacy universally present in the islands. Prime Minister Michael
Manley has singled out the "psychology of dependence" fostered by British imperialism
as one of the most prevalent forms of oppression.2 Speaking of the manifestations of the
problem in his own country, he points to the lack of confidence and self-awareness gener-
ated by the heritage of a plantation society as responsible for "the most fundamental
problem in Jamaica.... that the country was not committed to any concept of where it
was trying to go. And observers of the Caribbean scene have generally noted a weak
community structure in the islands and an accompanying apathy of the population to-
wards uniting in energetic and confident pursuit of common goals.
The rigid class lines of West Indian society, another hold-over from the colonial plant-
er period, are judged by most scholars to constitute a considerable impediment to the re-
moval of inequalities and the creation of egalitarian societies even in Jamaica where there
is more obvious cultural and ethnic homogeneity than exists in islands like Trinidad.s Pro-
fessor Peter J. Wilson of Yale University attributes the class stratifications of the West
Indies to unequal access to respectability. In the matter of respectability he points out
that West Indians "may embrace its significance, live with the need of attaining it, seek it
actively; but when all is said and done, it is their socio-economic position that ultimately
declares their having-or lacking-respectability."6 Continuing, he points out that reput-
ation, or the worthwhileness of the individual achievement measured against the perform-
ance of the peer group, is a compensation but not a replacement for respectability, which,
for the bulk of the population, is obtainable only through economic mobility.7
In the West Indies the colour ranking universally recognized as a concomitant to the
division along class lines is not primarily or exclusively an expression of racism as in the
United States. While there is growing racial consciousness and a marked tendency by
some to deal with problems by retreating to what Professor Gordon Lewis calls "the haven
of race", the primary determinant of West Indian societal divisions is economic.8 And, in
Lewis' estimation, erosion of ethnic and colour lines and even of rigid class lines will
steadily take place so long as there continues to be cross-fertilization . between the class-
es corresponding to each other in the various hierarchies, bridges built out of economic
interest, political affiliations, social intercourse, to a lesser degree, family life and religious
practice, even surreptitious sexual relations."9
The effort by all West Indian peoples to achieve a positive endemic identity is made
difficult not only by the paternalistic orientation of the populations and their class di-
visions, but also by the insularity of the Caribbean in general-another legacy of political
imperialism whereby the area remains fragmented and the island populations alienated
from one another. Even the presence of a common language seemingly has failed to over-
come the geographical and political separateness of individual islands. The long-standing
British practice of dealing separately with each island community appears to have con-
tributed to the negative attitude that prevented the success of the 1958 experiment in
Federation. Speeches on the issues arising out of federation showed unwillingness to
strengthen the centre of the federal structure and expressed much concern over how indi-
vidual countries would fare. In Jamaica Premier Norman Washington Manley voiced the
concern of his countrymen that under federation the development of the small Caribbean
islands would be injurious to Jamaica's interests. Stating the case simply, he said, "We
conceive that in the long run there are real and great advantages in federation but that
those advantages cannot be accepted at the price of anything that would destroy or injure
us in a fundamental respect." 10
The leaders who articulated now and in the past their people's strivings to come to
terms with their own emerging nationhood have understood the power of the spoken
word. They have shown themselves to be richly endowed-with an awareness of the herit-
age from the colonial past, with a high regard for the general liberal values of constitution-
al democracy as expressed through a distinct West Indian medium, with a store of prac-
tical experience, and with a readiness to come to terms with the realities of West Indian
Among the pioneers in the development of modern Jamaica, none, perhaps, surpasses
the stature of Norman Washington Manley, leader of the People's National Party, and the
man who successfully gave life to the Jamaican national spirit. Professor Lewis writes that
the "vast volume of political consciousness" generated by Manley's party under his leader-
ship arose from "its advocacy of full self-government, its crystallization of latent political
interest into a militant political party, its organized research. into all aspects of Ja-
maican problems, and its propaganda effort."" These words indicate the major themes
and strategies of Manley's speeches. It is significant that Lewis employs a scholarly meta-
phor "vast volume" to sum up the effect of Manley's efforts, for the speeches by the
"Father of the Nation", as Manley was called, taken as a whole impart above all a distinct
quality of reflective rather than emotional persuasion, and their effect is due as much to
the consistent, painstaking, and unrelenting flow of Manley's rhetoric over a period of
more than thirty years as it is to the sheer quality and content of his arguments.
The central inspiration of Manley's career was his commitment to self-government, to
be achieved through a scheme of "Jamaican socialism" built around a two-party system
and nurtured by the growth of a Jamaican national consciousness. The style Manley uses
to explain his view of socialism seems designed not to confront his listeners with the
necessity for making difficult, immediate judgments in unmapped territory, but to en-
courage them to move steadily toward future goals in a conservative and stable fashion; in
short, to make haste slowly. His vision is cautionary, even restrictive, rather than radical,
for his ideal society lies in the future and is based on applications of British socialist
theory. Accordingly, his language is frequently abstract, not concrete. Socialism, in his
view, is "a patient belief that decent men will one day make a decent world."'2
On the whole, Manley's speeches contain much patient explanation of the general Fab-
ian socialist "goods" and a great deal of temporizing over the exact form socialism is to
take in Jamaica. Manley is interested in origins and processes: in his words, Jamaicans
need "to gain the broader understanding that comes from realising that we are in fact in
our own way and on our own level playing a part in a process world-wide in its sweep and
world-shaking in its import."'3 As for the substance and form of Jamaican socialism,
Manley stipulates that it should embody what he calls "the essence of British socialism,
indeed of democratic socialism the world over", which, he points out, has a "Christian in-
spiration"and "has always been free to adapt the means to the ends. .. and to accept the
practical necessities of changing or different circumstances and to modify methods in the
light of experience."" And on a subsequent occasion, he reiterated the primacy of a Ja-
maican viewpoint: "The doctrinaire thinkers will have to learn by experience that Jamaica
is Jamaica and what is possible here in our political framework is governed by matters
special to ourselves." is Taken as a whole, Manley's explorations of the nature of socialism
and its applications to Jamaica are presented in a tutelary fashion which seems designed
to inspire reflection and self-satisfied agreement-a comfortable feeling of having come to
terms with the matter on an intellectual and moral level as, perhaps, the most sensible
method of dealing with it.
Besides the ability in explanation and the free drawing on Fabian socialist ideology,
Manley could employ the familiar image in a way that was compelling rather than trivial.
The theme of his speech at the founding of the People's National Party in 1938 was a
pledge to foster a Jamaican national spirit that would produce among his people "the
dawn of the feeling that this island should be their home and their country.""6 Affirming
the benefits of national self-awareness, Manley said,
For the immature and primitive, a faith and a sense of destiny are requisite. History
will give intuitions of the destiny, but until faith in its reality is born, the psychic
and ethical value of progress and culture cannot exist. History cannot teach them,
for they arise out of an inner process and their roots require an emotional soil.17
What Manley was doing was to seek to overcome his people's psychological alienation
and lack of self-confidence-to help them "throw off the legacy of fear and inferiority
and want of pride that an ugly past has left."'8 To Manley, the first step to achievement
of a national spirit must be willingness to face the reality of "the poverty of the masses...
to look at the plight of our young men with honest open eyes.""9 Manley's strategy of
plainly citing problems of his society and the shortcomings in the Jamaican character,
then of issuing a direct challenge to his audience to overcome these deficiencies becomes
the major organizational pattern in many of his speeches. He addresses himself candidly
to the dangers of Jamaicans lingering in the shadow of colonial paternalism as a "shep-
herded people" when they should be "facing the hard road of discipline, developing your
own capacities... your own people to the stage where they are capable of administering
their own affairs."20 He is dismayed by those "who would love to see everything settle
back into the old complacent jog trot" and rebukes those "who love our thatched huts
and the picturesqueness of Back-o'-Wall and those who look at smiles on people's faces
and believe that all is well because people will smile, nature is beautiful and one season
follows another."2' He insists that smug self-satisfaction must be overcome, for "when
everybody is contented even in the midst of poverty and degradation, when the bright
flashing teeth and smiling faces that are the sort of popular legend of the happy Jamaican-
it is inevitable that government will do as little as it possibly can."2 Nor does he spare
himself. He says quite candidly, "I have lived in that feeling myself, I have felt those sen-
While Manley has a vision of a better Jamaica, he displays in his speeches no inclin-
ation to take the role of prophet or charismatic leader; his distaste for the Messiah image
is well documented by his biographer, Rex Nettleford.24 As if to secure acceptance of his
ideas on their own merits rather than on his personal authority, Manley consciously plays
down his own contributions. Of his ideas he remarks, "I claim no originality for them."2s
And of his role in the party, he says,
I have the honour to be associated with [it]. I do not claim to be the founder of it.
I have no desire that it should be associated with my name beyond the fact that it
will be honoured to accept my services... My own position is perfectly clear. I have
never pretended to be a labour leader and I have no ambition to be a labour leader.26
In Manley's view, the only solution to Jamaica's problems is the rejection by all of com-
placency and a conscious embrace of "discipline, honesty, loyalty, hard work.. for the
good of the masses of the people and not for self-interest." 27
Here is a mild reformer, calling the attention of his audience to their weaknesses in
simple terms and homely illustrations that present a gentle satire of the easy-going Ja-
maican. Manley speaks for reform, yet his proposals are not cataclysmic or revolutionary,
but essentially conservative and evolutionary: "We are starting in our infancy, and we will
have to pass through many stages before we attain the goal we seek-the assurance and
confidence and power that belong to manhood."28 The salvation Manley promises, para-
doxically enough, comes through the work ethic of the Anglo-Saxon: the torpor of de-
pendency created by the plantation system will be removed by an application of the
former oppressor's values. In Manley's words, realization of Jamaica's goals will require
"courage... It will want a new discipline in what is today the most undisciplined country
on God's earth.""29 Thus Manley enhances the thematic qualities of his message by propos-
ing to substitute the metaphor of the Protestant ethic for that of the incipient Arcadian-
While Jamaica embarked on overwhelming political changes in 1938, in Trinidad and
Tobago it remained for the arrival in 1956 of Dr. Eric Williams and his party, the People's
National Movement, to initiate a comparable transformation. As Chief Minister and later
Premier, Dr. Williams promised with the PNM to build up a democratic regime not based
on race or class, which aimed at economic, political and social reform and appealed to
"the intelligence rather than the emotions of the electorate whose political education it
places in the forefront of its activities."30 An examination of Williams' speeches since he
assumed office reveals his conscious effort to translate his societal vision into practical
terms: the themes he develops in his speeches stress the necessity of long-range planning,
industrialization, education, separation of race and politics, and self-conscious develop-
ment of nationalism.
These familiar aims are so commonly found in the contemporary political rhetoric of
developing countries as to be almost cliche. Nonetheless, when Williams lays out these
simple elements in his speeches, in the process exhorting his audience to secure these
goals by seeking a new morality which supplants selfish individualism with collective
ideals, his speeches rise above the pedestrian level of political harangue. His ability to
instil vitality into such inherently dull subjects as economic planning is the result of his
skillful composition which is clear, powerful, and direct, yet sufficiently discursive to
permit him frequent sallies into historical analysis and argument from example whereby
he conducts the political education of his listeners.
Williams was a brilliant Oxford scholar, researcher, and faculty member at Howard
University before he entered West Indian politics, and his remarkable insight and depth of
learning are evident in his speeches. Professor Gordon Lewis notes the Burkian cast of
Williams' role as politician and speaker, describing Williams as
the philosopher in action, bred out of the radical intellectual's conviction that the
cloistered virtue of academic life becomes sterile save as it seeks to translate its
knowledge into social purpose, bred, too, out of his professional historian's con-
viction that . the historian must be judge as well as witness.31
Williams' style reflects his Burkian outlook: it combines appeal to intellection with appeal
to deep-set emotion. His speeches do more than convey his reasoned view of political and
social problems; they seek a harmony with the audience based on mutual respect and
One of the basic strategies consistently used by Williams to unify his audience and to
promote his own identity with them is the invocation of the archetypal metaphor of the
master-slave relationship. He sees his listeners sharing a common oppression in which he
also partakes. He says that
in Trinidad the Negro, the Indian, French and Spaniard, English and Portuguese,
Syrian and Lebanese, Chinese and Jew, all have messed out of the same pot, all are
victims of the same subordination, all have been tarred with the same brush of poli-
On other occasions Williams portrays the horrors of colonialism in a style more graph-
ic and vigorous, as in the following passage:
You know one of the famous pastimes of the old planters in Trinidad -the West
Indies generally? They would take a slave girl, sleep with the girl and then they
would take the daughter, their own daughter, sleep with the daughter, and then
they would go through the different generations. It was a regular pastime. They had
a name for it. They called it 'washing their blackamoors white'. Lightening the
generations. It was consciously done.33
One of Williams' frequent variations on the master-slave metaphor is his portrayal of
the slave as the sacrificial victim of English and American mercantilist greed. I lere is his
assessment of the effect on the West Indies ol the long association with these countries:
Thus, one century after British emancipation in 1833, the entire West Indies
were again ablaec revolt against the American-supported dictatorship in ( uba,
hopeless poverty in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, an absentee plantocracy
crucifying West Indian humanity upon a cross of sugar cane everywhere, I aiti under
American occupation, a pervadine apathy and sickness in the smaller islands broken
only in periods of disorder, as the Disturbances (omnmission staled in respect ol
The evils that Williams portrays were deliberate. and Williams warns his listeners not to
"be tempted to regard them as either blunders or stupidity or perverseness on the part of
those who enunciated them. Tlie\ aie neithell bluindicls 101 stupidity nor perverseness."
It is important to Williams that lie assign blame. lie sees colonialist policies, of whatever
origin, as the root cause of his people's pleseni plight, and lie finds no difficulty in iden-
tifying the colonialist scapegoats. He tells his audience, for example, that should his pro-
posals for a solution to the Chaguarailas issue not be accepted by the Americans. then
"the only possible explanation we canl find [is] the continued domination of the habits
and thinking of colonialism to us as inon-whiles."'6
Time and again in dramatic language Williams forces his audience to face the ugly real-
ities of their colonialist heritage. But the lesson is also instructive ol the means of their
redemption. Having depicted the pernicious effects of colonialism, Williams asks his
What is the exact significance of all this for us today? Among other things it is
this: all the difficulties from which we suffer and the problems we have to over-
come, all these are not native to our country as a Territory or to us as a people. The
unbalanced state of our economy, our insularity, even the timidity with which
some of us approach the privileges and responsibilities of independence, all these
are due to the course of economy, politics and history which were imposed on us
for 300 years.
We are now getting out of it, and the more we understand what was done to us,
the more easily we shall throw off the evil heritage that it has left behind.37
Thus Williams assumes his audience that awareness of their demeaning historical experi-
ence will be their salvation; certainly his dramatic presentations of that experience help to
make their redemption psychologically inevitable.38
And from time to time, balanced against the picture of the depraved oppressors,
Williams evokes the romantic myth of Rousseau's noble savage, as when he refers to "the
superior magnanimity of the African slave over the sordid soul of his master.'39 Or when
he declares that "slavery is not by nature . the humblest antecedents are not inconsis-
tent with greatness of soul."40
But on the whole, when Williams depicts his audience, it is in terms that call them to
account for their laziness and self-indulgence, their selfish careerism that seeks mere per-
sonal aggrandizement. Declaring that the national character of the people of Trinidad
and Tobago. "as developed and encouraged by generations of slavery and colonialism," is
an "overwhelming advantage" to the achievement of nationhood, he says:
Some of those who protest against colonial exploitation seek in the same breath to
demand the perquisites enjoyed by the expatriates, seeking thereby not only to
foist upon the people of Trinidad and Tobago a perpetuation of colonial standards
and colonial privileges, but also to maintain the same distributive injustice which
precipitated the nationalist movement; as if a parasite ceases to be offensive because
it is indigenous.4
He speaks with asperity of those "who see in nationalism and self-government nothing
but an opportunity for establishing their own little clique and having around them a mass
of clients and proteges whom they push forward at the expense of others."42
In Williams' view, Trinidadians suffer not only from the notion that government exists
merely to provide special privileges, but also from "the confusion of anti-intellectualism"
that is inevitable "with a mentality conceived in slavery, cradled in indenture, and nur-
tured in colonialism."43 If Williams appears to risk historical distortion by an overdrawn
picture of colonialist evils and a too-consistent condemnation of all that Britain did, does
he not restore some balance to his analysis through his straightforward acknowledgment
of imperfections on the other side? Williams's understanding of his listeners' shortcomings
is important: since his listeners lack the tradition of enlightened community participation,
appeals for unity based on reason would probably fail. Invocation of the dramatic master-
slave metaphor would be a more effective means of inspiring sentiment for national rather
than selfish aims.
The power, directness, and vividness of Williams's style is conveyed not only by his
skill in invoking the master-slave metaphor, but also in his use of strategies of analysis, ar-
rangement, and argument that project strong contrast and comparison and are designed to
force a choice upon his listeners. In all of his speeches he customarily traces the historical
development of present problems. His purpose is not to inform: any pedagogical quality
that might attach to a straightforward recital of facts is dissipated by his treatment of
points so as to build a case in favour of his own view.
In a paper Williams delivered entitled "Race Relations in Caribbean Society", he justi-
fies his claims that West Indian governments were traditionally "the organs of the planto-
cracy and the enemy of the people" when he examines the findings of the 1736 Commis-
sion of Enquiry in Antigua and declares that behind the Commission findings lay "the
philosophy . .very clearly stated in French law-that nothing would ever make the slave
equal to his master."44 Continuing his analysis he examines emancipation in Jamaica and
declares that when "equality threatened. . the British government in 1865, under
pressure from the planters, formally suspended the constitution and -instituted direct
government by the Crown."45 Pursuing his theme, he discourses on the history of the
theory of race, branding Thomas Carlyle a "neo-fascist" and repudiating "Gobineau's in-
equality of races, which is associated with the intolerance of fascism, the vapourings of
Nietzche, and the indecency of South Africa. Froude would have no respectability today
... Macaulay would be stoned to death.. ."" By such mounting up of evidence through
historical review, Williams seeks to substantiate his claim of the "Bankruptcy of the slave-
plantation economy."47 He shows his ability to exploit a basic image through a series of
examples; the effect of his analysis relies upon contrast and accumulation.
Williams augments the force and clarity of his strategy of cumulation by using short
dramatically worded internal summaries that re-iterate the point he has just made and
invite a comparison favourable to Trinidad. In a speech entitled "The National Commun-
ity' Williams announces his intention to clarify "the progress that P.N.M. has made to-
wards... national community... and see what happens in other nations, the majority of
them independent."48 Summing up his remarks on the United States, Williams says, "Then
one will recognize that the United States is not a national community in the sense that
P.N.M. has sought to establish a national community in Trinidad and Tobago."49 Con-
tinuing, he says of Canada's sense of national identity: "They thought they had one for
98 years in Canada and suddenly they woke up to find that they don't have one"; and of
Belgium: "If they still have one they don't know what the devil it is."50 In this manner he
goes on to consider a total of twelve different countries, in each case either implying or
specifying the superiority of the Trinidad and Tobago national community. His style
throughout the passage conveys both force and control.
One of Williams's most effective rhetorical techniques that enhances the clarity and
directness of his message and effectively forces his audience to choose is his constant
posing of either-or propositions, often in conjunction with argument on principle. The
following passage illustrates these qualities in combination and reveals the energetic quality
of Williams's style: it moves forward with sudden shifts in direction, parenthetic elements,
and rhetorical questions. Williams tells his audience that
the greater the solidarity at village levels, the more established and stronger is the
community at national level. This does not happen in these other places, where,
whilst we are getting together... in Quebec they are pulling apart; in Brussels they
are dividing; in Ceylon after a hundred years of, if not partnership, co-existence you
suddenly destroy what you thought had been put together. We in Trinidad are mov-
ing together, other places are moving apart.
I emphasise that, friends, because I want to impress upon you that you must not
take the moving together for granted. Canada did it and look at it after 98 years.
You don't want suddenly to find that after eight or 98 years you suddenly have
now to make desperate efforts to patch it up again, it has come apart. We understood
this from the start and went out for inter-racial solidarity. We used to say, you
either get together or you cut each other's throats. Which do you prefer? And look
at what is happening all over the place. And if you get at each other's throats, will
you tell me in the name of all that is holy what is going to happen to your children
being mixed up in these schools? Do you want the fights to start in the schools?s5
Thus we see Williams, in the passages quoted, struggling to inculcate a positive national
consciousness by hammering home the lesson of the colonialist metaphor, trying to rouse
his people politically, and affirming the individualism and integrity of Trinidad and
Tobago. Williams's ideas are conveyed in a style that is rich in imagery, clear, powerful,
and direct, displaying effective use of language to convey the vivid physical perception of
suffering and shame. He is so much at ease in discoursing on the evils of colonial oppress-
ion, his style seems so calculated to offend that the question must be asked whether he
achieves the appeal to "the intelligence rather than . the emotions" that he promised in
1958.52 Does his relentless pursuit of the colonialist metaphor and his resolute ascription
of blame produce in his audience what Lewis calls the acceptance of symbols "as substi-
tutes for, instead of merely being aids to the solid feelings of national community arising
out of common social experience?"53 I think not. Williams's faults are the defects of his
virtues. There is, perhaps, too much stimulation of the imagination, but his evocative rich-
ness provides his hearers with something perceptible and immediately useful.
When one compares Manley and Williams, one discovers that they have certain aims in
common (self-government, the development of national consciousness) and share some
themes (repudiation of the colonialist legacy of dependency and self-doubt), but there are
differences as well.
Although the comprehensive treatment both men give to speech materials shows a
clear debt to history, Williams emerges as the impetuous judge of history, mercilessly con-
demnatory, while Manley appears as the self-conscious ponderer of past events, searching
for applications. Manley is more conventional in his use of history than Williams and does
not consistently use language to heighten the implication of his statements as Williams
does. Manley's well-developed explanations, his logical progression of those ideas are an
illustration of style matching sentiment. Williams's forceful style is both didactic and
evocative; the distortion it evinces is the price he pays for directness.
Both Manley and Williams appear to be well within the mainstream of modem West
Indian oratory, wherein they must come to terms with the force of the past while dealing
with present conditions and shaping future policy. Their speeches reveal men of superior
capability seeking solutions to the basic problem which faces the West Indies today, as it
did nearly forty years ago-the development of genuine national interest. The answers
given by Manley and Williams demonstrate the variety of achievement to be found in
West Indian public discourse.
MARIAN B. McLEOD
1. Quoted in Thonssen, Lester and Baird, A. Craig, Speech Criticism: The Development of Stan-
dards for Rhetorical Appraisal (New York: Ronald Press, 1948), p. 47.
2. Quoted in Anderson, Jervis, "A Reporter at Large: Home to Jamaica," The New Yorker, 19
January 1976, p. 65.
4. Wagley, Charles, "Plantation America: A Culture Sphere," in Caribbean Studies: A Symposium,
ed. Rubin, Vera (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1960), pp. 8-9.
5. See Anderson, passim. Other authors expressing similar views are Lewis, Gordon K., The Growth
of the Modern West Indies (New York: Monthly Review Press, 1968), and Stone, Carl, "Class,
Race and Political Behaviour in Urban Jamaica," in Consequences of Class and Color: West
Indian Perspectives, ed. Lowenthal, David (Institute of Social and Economic Research, Kings-
ton. University of the West Indies, 1973).
6. Wilson, Peter J,, Crab Antics: The Social Anthropology of English-Speading Negro Societies of
the Caribbean (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1973), p. x.
7. Ibid., p. xi.
8. Lewis, pp. 41-42 and passim.
9. Ibid., pp. 41-42.
10. Manley, N. W., speech, "Our Policy and Federation" (25 October 1959), in Manley and the
New Jamaica: Selected Speeches and Writings 1938-1968, ed. Nettleford, Rex (London: Long-
man Caribbean, 1971).
11. Lewis, p. 181.
12. Manley, N. W., speech, "Saul Among the Prophets" (September 1940), in Nettleford.
13. Manley, N. W., speech, "The Social Struggle" (11 September 1945), in Nettleford.
14. Manley, N. W., speech, "Socialism: Its Essence and Its Relevance to the West Indies" (n.d.), in
15. Manley, N. W., speech, "Socialism: Betrayal or Not?" (n.d.), in Nettleford.
16. N. W. Manley, speech, "Launching of the People's National Party" (18 September 1938), in
17. Quoted in Nettleford, p. lxvi.
18. N. W. Manley, speech, "Saul Among the Prophets."
19. N. W. Manley, speech, "I Affirm" (19 February 1967), in Nettleford.
20. N. W. Manley, speech, "Launching of the People's National Party."
22. N. W. Manley, speech, "Education and the New National Spirit" (January 1939), in Nettleford.
23. N. W. Manley, speech, "Launching of the People's National Party."
24. Nettleford, pp. xii-xix.
25. N. W. Manley, speech, "Launching of the People's National Party."
30. Eric Williams, speech, "Perspectives for our Party," 17 October 1958 (Port of Spain: People's
National Movement, 1958). Williams's aims are also set out in his book, History of the People
of Trinidad and Tobago (New York: Praeger, 1962).
31. Lewis, p. 213.
32. Williams, History of the People of Trinidad and Tobago, p. 278.
33. Williams, speech, "The National Community" (28 October 1965), in Reorganisation of the Pub-
lic Service: Three Speeches (Port of Spain: People's National Movement, 1965).
34. Williams, speech, "Perspectives for the West Indies" (30 May 1960), in Major Party Documents.
Vol. I (Port of Spain: People's National Movement, n.d.).
39. Williams, speech, "Perspectives for the West Indies."
40. Williams, History of the People of Trinidad and Tobago, p. 282.
41. Ibid., pp. 282-83.
43. Quoted in Lewis, p. 394.
44. Williams, "Race Relations in Caribbean Society," in Caribbean Studies: A Symposium, ed.
Rubin, Vera (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1960), p. 55.
46. Ibid., p. 57.
47. Ibid., p. 56.
48. Williams, speech, "The National Community."
51. Williams, speech, "Perspectives for the West Indies."
52. supra, p. 9.
53. Lewis, p. 395.
Anderson, Jervis. "A Reporter at Large: Home to Jamaica." The New Yorker, 19 January 1976, pp.
Lewis, Gordon K. The Growth of the Modern West Indies. New York: Monthly Review Press, 1968.
Major Party Documents. Vol. I. Port of Spain: People's National Movement, n.d.
Nettleford, Rex, ed. Manley and the New Jamaica: Selected Speeches and Writings 1938-1968.
London: Longman Caribbean, 1971.
Stone, Carl. "Class, Race and Political Behaviour in Urban Jamaica," in Consequences of Class and
Colour. West Indian Perspectives, ed. Lowenthal, David. Institute of Social and Economic Re-
search, Kingston: University of the West Indies, 1973.
Thonssen, Lester and Baird, A. Craig, Speech Criticism: The Development of Standards for Rhetorical
Appraisal. New York: Ronald Press, 1948.
Wagley, Charles. "Plantation-America: A Culture Sphere," in Caribbean Studies: A Symposium, ed.
Rubin, Vera. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1960.
Williams, Eric. History of the People of Trinidad and Tobago. New York: Praeger, 1962.
Perspectives for our Party. Port of Spain: People's National Movement, 1958.
"Race Relations in Caribbean Society," in Caribbean Studies: A Symposium, ed. Rubin,
Vera. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1960.
Reorganisation of the Public Service: Three Speeches. Port of Spain: People's National
Movement, 1965 (?).
Wilson, Peter J. Crab Antics: The Social Anthropology of English-Speaking Negro Societies of the
Caribbean. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1973.
OLDEST EXISTING COMMONWEALTH CARIBBEAN NEWSPAPERS
Mass media, especially the print variety, have had an up-and-down history in the British
West Indies, with the number, circulation and quality of publications usually ascending
during political crises and levelling off or descending during normalcy. A result has been
the short life of many newspapers and periodicals. For example, since 1834 Jamaica has
seen the birth of nearly a hundred newspapers; today, two dailies and about a dozen
weeklies remain. In Barbados, at least 40 newspapers have been established since the
Gazette of 1731; one daily and some six weeklies exist now.
Of the five nineteenth-century general-interest newspapers that have survived to the
present, the largest is the Daily Gleaner. Established as a literary paper in 1833 by Joshua
DeCordova, the paper, the following year, became an advertising sheet, DeCordova's Ad-
vertising Sheet. The present Gleaner dates its existence to 1834.
Except for two Roman Catholic newspapers, the only other newspapers in the region
that were developed before the twentieth century are the Nassau Guardian, Voice of St.
Lucia, Barbados Advocate-News and Bermuda Royal Gazette.
In the 1840s, as the controversial Bahamas Argus was fading away, a pro-government
newspaper, Nassau Guardian, came into existence. Using a government printing contract
(first awarded in 1845 and held intermittently since) as security, the Guardian has been
able to survive at least a dozen rivals. It was owned and published by the Moseley family
from its establishment until 1948, when it was sold to the United Bahamian Party. More
recently, it was purchased by the Perry chain of newspapers based in the United States.
The Voice of St. Lucia was started in the latter part of the nineteenth century at a
time when St. Lucian newspapers were short-lived because of a lack of subscription pay-
ments. Always middle-of-the-road politically, the Voice remained in the family of its
founder, Robert McHugh, until 1920, when it was sold to George S. Gordon. Since that
time, except for a brief period in the 1960s when it was owned by the Barbados Advocate-
News, and thus indirectly by Cecil King and later Roy Thomson, the Voice has been
Gordon property. It is owned by the Gordons today.
Just as the Gleaner and the Nassau Guardian had the business sector of the community
in mind when they started, so did the Trinidad Guardian, founded in 1917 by a group of
businessmen to protect the cocoa interests. In 1936, the paper's sister, Evening News, was
created as a pro-Empire daily.
Oldest of the papers is the Royal Gazette, established in 1828. The Gazette publishes a
weekend paper, Mid-Ocean News, and owns stock in Bermudian broadcasting. Both
papers converted to offset printing in the early 1970s when they moved into a new plant.
Listed below are the newspapers this author found evidence of in his research on the
LIST OF KNOWN NEWSPAPERS IN COMMONWEALTH CARIBBEAN
Frequency Year of Last
1783-4 The Bahama Gazette
1804 The Royal Gazette & Bahama Advertiser
1810 Bahama Gazette
1831 The Bahama Argus
1836,8 The Bahamian (renamed The Observer)
1844 Nassau Guardian
1849 Bahama Herald
1861 The Nassau Advertiser
1869 The Nassau Times
1886 The Freeman
The West Indian Guardian
1898 The Bahama News
1901 The Watchman
1904 The Tribune
1908 The Witness
1922 Observer Weekly (later Nassau Leader)
1935 Bahama News
1937 Nassau Herald
1938 The Mirror
Business Men's Monthly
1940s The Voice
1944 The Liberator
1964 Bahamas Weekly
Eleuthera Palm (Governor's Harbour)
1968 Grand Bahama Tribune
1731 Barbados Gazette [continued as the
Barbados Gazette, or General
1762 The Barbados Mercury [continued as
The Barbados Mercury and Bridge-
town Gazette (1805-48)]
Barbados Chronicle or Caribbean Courier
Frequency Year of Last
1814 Barbados Times
1819 Barbados Globe, Official Gazette and
1822 The Barbadian
1827-8 Barbados Globe and Demerara Advocate
1833 The West Indian
1836 West India Magazine
1840 The Sun
1840 Morning News
1844 The Standard
1862 The Times
1862 The Barbados Agricultural Reporter
1865 The Official Gazette
1876 The Barbados People & West Indian
1876 (?) Pepper Punch
1876 (?) Saturday Review
1876 Penny Paper
1877 Barbados Herald
1877 (?) Two Penny Paper
1877 (?) Sentinel
1886 (?) Bridgetown Ledger
1895 The Barbados Advocate
1904 The Weekly Illustrated Paper
Illustrated Sunday News 1905-41, then
as Sunday News 1941-43, then Illus-
trated Sunday News again in 1944
and Illustrated & Midweek News
1908 The Sparklet
1909 The Barbados Standard
1911 Agricultural News
1912 (?) Speightstown Review
1919 The Barbados Herald
1920 (?) Barbados Times
Barbados Sporting News
1954 or 5
Frequency Year of Last
Calypso (Sunday supplement)
Barbados Daily News
The Bermuda Gazette and Weekly
Royal Gazette and Bermuda Advertiser
The Bermudian (St. George's)
The Royal Gazette
The Bermuda Colonist (St. George's)
The Bermuda Colonist
The Bermuda Times and Advocate
The Royal Gazette and Colonist
British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Turks Islands:
1853 The Royal Standard and Gazette of
the Turks and Caicos Islands
The Island Sun (BVI)
1959 Tortola Times (BVI)
1964 Caymanian (Cayman Islands)
1718 The Weekly Jamaica Courant
1745 Jamaica Gazetle (elsewhere listed as
The Jamaica Gazette, established
in 1761 )
1755 The St. Jago de la Vega Gazette
1756 The Saint Jago Intelligencer
1756 The Kingston Journal
.1772-3 Cornwall Chronicle or County Gazette.
Founded Name. Frequency Year of Last
then The Cornwall Chronicle and
General Advertiser (weekly) in 1776,
then Cornwall Chronicle and Jamaica
General Advertiser in 1781.
1776 The Kingston Journal and Jamaica
1779 The Jamaica Mercury and Kingston Weekly
Advertiser, later known as The Royal
Gazette, also as the Royal Gazette and
Jamaica Times from 1838 and Royal
Gazette and Jamaica Standard from 1842
1782 The Cornwall Mercury and Savanna-
la-Mar Weekly Advertiser W
1787 The Kingston Morning Post
1788 The Savanna-la-Mar Gazette W
1790 The Daily Advertiser D
1791 Jamaica Mercury and Trelawny
1792 The Times
1795 The Diary and Kingston Daily Advertiser D
1801 The Kingston Mercantile Advertiser
1805 Jamaica Courant, later called Jamaica
Courant and Public Advertiser in
1813; then Jamaica Courant and
Daily Advertiser in 1828. D
1805 The Kingston Chronicle and City
1811 (?) Cornwall Chronicle
1818 Cornwall Gazette and Northside
General Advertiser (Falmouth) W
1822 The Trifler, later changed to Buccatoro
Journal in 1823 and The Gossip
in 1826 (Montego Bay) W
1823 The Jamaica Journal and Kingston
1825 : Cornwall Courier
1826 Montego Bay Gazette
1826 (?) Cornwall Chronicle or Country Gazette
1827 Isonomist possibly D
1829 The Watchman and Kingston Free Press Bi-W
1829 The Struggler (Montego Bay)
1831-2 Christian Record
1830s Jamaica Gazette
Frequency Year of Last
1831 Cornwall Advertiser D
1832 Jamaica Despatch, Chronicle and
Gazette; later Jamaica Despatch and
Shannon's Daily Messenger, 1832-7;
then Jamaica Despatch and New
Courant and Jamaica Despatch and
Kingston Chronicle D
Kingston Chronicle and Jamaican Journal D
1832 (?) The Jamaica Watchman
1832 The Patriot
1833 DeCordova's Advertising Sheet
1833 Commercial Advertiser
1832-3 The West Indian W
1834 Falmouth Post, or Jamaica
1834 The Loyalist
1834 Jamaica Standard D
1834 The Baptist Herald
1834 The Daily Gleaner and Weekly
Compendium of News W, D
1835 Jamaica Herald and Commercial Advertiser
1836 The Conservative and
1838 The Morning Journal D
1838 The Polypheme and DeCordova's
1838 DeCordova's Mercantile Intelligencer irregular
1838 DeCordova's Prices Current
1840s The Family Journal
1839 (?) The Colonial Reformer (Spanish Town)
1840 Paul Pry (satire) Semi-W
1841 The Middlesex Gazette, later became
Middlesex Gazette and Jamaica
1843 The Reporter D
1843 The Old Harbour Mirror W
1844 Advertising Sheet
1845 Jamaica Guardian and Patriot
1849 Political Satirist
1850 (?) Despatch D
1850s The Daily Advertiser and Lawton's
1852 The Banner of the People
Frequency Year of Last
1852 Creole Miscellany
1854 Nunc's Advertising Sheet
1855 Gall's Family Newspaper, later became
Gall's Newsletter. Country Edition
1863 The Jamaican
1863 The Sentinel
The Jamaica Tribune and Daily
1860 Jamaica Guardian
1865 Jamaica Daily Express
1871 (?) The Jamaica Instructor
1874 The Budget
1874 (?) The Trelawny and Public Advertiser
1878 (?) Jamaica Witness
1879 (?) Westmorcland Telegraph and Planters
1879 The Creole and Daily Record.
called the Creole by 1882
1882 The New Century, also called the
Nineteenth Ccentury and
St. James Chronicle
1883 (?) Jamaica Colonist
1883 (?) The Westmoreland Telegraph and
County ol Cornwall Ga/zele
1885 West Indian Field, also Jama:ica lField
1885 The Evening Express
1887 Jamaica Post and Wcsl Indian Advertiser,
later Jamaica Daily Telegraph
1888 The Tri-Weekly Budget
1889 Jamaica Post
1893 The Jamaican
1894 The Evening News
1894 The Jamaica Advocate
1894 The West Indian Graphic
1896 Catholic Opinion
1897 Jamaica Daily Telegraph and
successor to Jamaica Post
1897 (?) The Newsletter
1898 The Jamaica Times, also Weekly Times
W 1865 (discontinued)
Semi-W, D 1865
Frequency Year of Last
The Northern News and Provincial
Advertiser, also Northern News from
1913-21 (Montego Bay)
The Jamaica Guardian
The Jamaica Telegraph and Guardian
(merger of Jamaica Telegraph and
The Daily News
The Trelawny Advocate
The Western Echo
The Jamaica Mail
Sunday Morning Post
The Commercial Advocate
The New Jamaican
The Voice of Jamaica
Jamaica Labour Weekly
The National Negro Voice
The Young Jamaican
The People's Voice
The Weekly Observer
W, D, W continues
ernate weeks unknown
Frequency Year of Last
1947 (?) The Mo-Bay Times
1947 (?) Spanish Town Tribune
1947 (?) The Western Sun
1947 West Indian Sportsman
1948 Chinese Public News
1950 (?) The Leader
1950 (?) The Times
1950 Children's Newspaper, now Children's
1951 Jamaica Weekly Gleaner
1952 (?) The People
1952 The Advocate, incorporating
1952 The Voice of Jamaica
1953 (?) The Tribune
1955 Farmer's Weekly
1957 (?) The Cornwall Guardian
1957 (?) The News Express
1958 (?) Chung Sang News
1964 (?) The Beacon (Montego Bay)
1968 Moko, A Serious Review
The New Nation
The Visitor, Resort Weekly
1967 The Beacon
pre-1755 The Antigua Gazette
pre-1769 The Antigua Mercury or St. John's
1783 (?) The Antigua Chronicle
1797 Antigua Journal
1813 The Weekly Register, continued as the
Antigua Weekly Register after 1843
1824 The Antigua Free Press
1832 The Antigua Herald and Gazette, also
also called Weekly Herald
1835 The Antigua Messenger
1843 The Antigua Observer
1851 The Antigua Times, also The Antigua
1870 The Antigua New Era
1872 The Royal Gazette of the Leeward
Islands (irregular), changed to The
Leeward Islands Gazette (weekly)
from 1891 to 1956, then to
Antigua, Montserrat and Virgin
Islands Gazette (weekly) from
The Antigua Standard
Antigua News Notes
The Montserrat Chronicle
The Montserrat Herald
Frequency Year of Last
W, Dby 1866 unknown
The Nevis Guardian W
The Liberal (new series)
Nevis Weekly Recorder W
Nevis Review W
ST. CHRISTOPHER (ST. KITTS)
1747 The St. Christopher Gazette and
Charibbean Courier, by 1771 called
St. Christopher Gazette or the