Regional journalists bone up on international labour standards

Journalists from across the Caribbean were last week exposed to a range of skills and knowledge for applying international labour standards in their reporting during a three-day workshop in Trinidad and Tobago.

The workshop, which was held under the theme ‘Communicating Rights at Work’, was organized by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and the Association of Caribbean Media Workers (ACM). The workshop was the first of its kind in the region and according to the ILO its aim was to effectively raise public awareness of internationally-recognized human rights at work and their relevance to social and labour issues as well as national development.

Speaking at the opening of the event, Director of the ILO Office for the Caribbean, Dr Anna Theresa Romero said that rights at work underpin every aspect of social and economic development which one may find reported on in the news.

She said too that “sometimes we do not remember this but if we were to take a closer look behind the headlines, rights become apparent”. As regards her expectations of the workshop, Romero expressed the belief that it would have examined issues such as the quest for social justice, the role of tripartism and social dialogue, and HIV/AIDS in the world of work which she noted could provide a platform to assist journalists to enhance their skills in reporting on work and rights issues.

President of the Association of Caribbean Media Workers (ACM), Wesley Gibbings noted that the workshop was held at a critical time in the region’s history. He said it occurred “when the region appears challenged by the need to balance political and economic expediency against the minimum requirements of universally-accepted rights and standards that span virtually the entire spectrum of human, social interaction”.

He said too that “understanding labour standards and their impact on tangible economic outputs can provide a much needed nexus between aspiration and achievement, how societies construct tangible evidence out of otherwise elusive, unseen values and standards and goals”.

Gibbings noted at the conclusion of the workshop that the amount of work covered during the three-day period would have been adequate for journalists to comprehend and apply their understanding of international labour standards during their journalistic practices.

During the workshop, a number of issues were covered including the application of international labour standards to the various forms of work while participants discussed the application of ILO reports of each participating country.

Participants were guided through the event by experts in the field including ILO specialists, Pierre Francois-Recoing and Maura Miraglio, Roma Wong–Sang of the Trinidad and Tobago office of the ILO and veteran Caribbean journalists Tony James and Gibbings, among others.

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