Speak Out! Rebuilding Trust in Media and Democracy

Global Conference | Jamaica | 13 August 2018

“Democracy is in crisis. The values it embodies – particularly the right to choose leaders in free and fair elections, freedom of the press, and the rule of law – are under assault and in retreat globally”, reports Freedom House in a recent paper.

In a digital media world, consumed by the ravages of ‘Fake News’ and toxic outbursts on social media, it is easy to lose sight of the public good delivered by many mainstream media organisations.

The 2018 Public Media Alliance Global Conference will take place in Kingston, Jamaica. In recent months there has been plenty of analysis and discussion about how the media is failing democracy, now it is time to Speak Out! about the positive roles that public interest media can play in society.

The conference will feature high profile global and regional speakers for a day of debate highlighting how new media technologies provide boundless opportunities for innovation in content and ideas. Many broadcasters are evolving into multiplatform media organisations, it’s a critical time for them to ensure that social media use is professionalised and public trust regained.

Jamaica ranks among the countries that most respect freedom of information according to Reporters without Borders,  so it is a fitting location for the Public Media Alliance to focus on media solutions to the world’s growing democratic deficit.

Further examples will be highlighted during our partner event, the CBU Conference on Tuesday 14th August, where reflections on the devastating 2017 hurricane season in the region will demonstrate why in times of crisis audiences turn to media they can trust.

Join us in Kingston –  to Speak Out! and demonstrate the vital role that public interest media can play in rebuilding trust in media and democracy.

Featured Speakers

Our conference will feature some of the foremost practitioners and thinkers from the world of public media. See our programme for more details.


Register your attendance for this year’s conference


This year's sessions will strive to be solution based, looking to the future of public media and its positive role around the world


CEO Breakfast

Hosted by Chris Barnes, President of the Media Association of Jamaica (MAJ)


Welcome and Introduction

Sally-Ann Wilson, CEO, Public Media Alliance


Keynote | The Fierce Urgency of Now

Public Media’s Mission for Truth, Conversation and Community in These Troubled Times

Chair: Paul Thompson, CEO, Radio New Zealand

Julie Drizin, Executive Director, Current


Intervention | From Crises to Solutions via PSM Weekly

The PMA Team reflect on a year of PSM stories from around the world

Chair: Minna Aslama Horowitz, public media academic and consultant

Kristian Porter and Marta Catalano, PMA


Tea & Coffee Break


Panel | Never mind the platform, just keep up the standards

Maintaining and supporting high standards of journalism in the digital era

Chair: Wesley Gibbings, Vice President, Media Institute of the Caribbean

Keynote: Fran Unsworth, Head of News, BBC

Mark Bassant, Investigative Journalist CCN TV6 Trinidad

Dr. Zahera Harb, Trustee, Ethical Journalism Network & Senior Lecturer in International Journalism at City, University of London

Naja Nielsen, Chief Journalism Officer, ORB media [former Head of News, DR Denmark]


Multimedia Session | Windrush, what next?

The power of sharing stories in a globalised world

Keynote | The anatomy of the Windrush Scandal story UK

Caroline Bannock, Editor, Community and UGC, Guardian News and Media

Round Table Discussion

Chair: Odette Campbell, Communications Specialist & Media Trainer

Caroline Bannock, Editor, Community and UGC, Guardian News and Media

Dr. David McBean, Executive Director, University of the West Indies, Mona


Networking Lunch


Panel | Maintaining public trust and credibility in the digital era

How public media organisations are evolving in the digital world

Chair: Minna Aslama Horowitz, Public Media Academic and Consultant

Paul Thompson,  CEO, Radio New Zealand

Gary Allen, CEO, RJRGleaner Group

Louise Higgins, Chief Financial and Strategy Officer, ABC Australia

Jessie Shih, Director of International Department/Documentary Platform, PTS Taiwan


Coffee Break & PMA AGM


Panel | Public Media from different perspectives

The differing perspectives on public media from Gibraltar’s public broadcaster and regulator

Chair: Cordel Green, Executive Director, The Broadcasting Commission, Jamaica

Gerard Teuma, CEO GBC Gibraltar

John Paul Rodriguez, Dep. CEO, Gibraltar Regulatory Authority


Panel | Public media and disaster preparedness

This session looks to recent events to highlight the role public media can play in disaster preparedness 

Amanda Pitt, Chief, Strategic Communications, UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs

Anika Kentish, President, Association of Caribbean Media Workers


We will also run an intensive workshop for journalists and media managers from across the Caribbean on the 10-11 August, with the aim of developing an action plan on hate speech, terrorism and violence coverage for the region. This invite only workshop will be run in collaboration with the UNESCO Cluster Office for the Caribbean and the Ethical Journalism Network.

Find out more


Register your attendance for this year’s conference


Join us at The Pegasus Hotel, close to the heart of Kingston.

In recent years Jamaica has been regarded as a bastion of free press in the Caribbean region, with numerous indexes ranking the country as having one of the freest media landscapes in the world. Since 2009 the country has experienced comparatively little violence or threats towards journalists and has made numerous progressive strides such as decriminalising defamation in 2016.  The bustling city of Kingston is home to the majority of large media organisations in the country, such as PMA member RJRGleaner Communications Group and the Public Broadcasting Corporation of Jamaica (PBCJ).

Travel Information

Click on the tabs below to find all you need to know about travelling to Jamaica

The Pegasus Hotel

This is our conference venue and recommended hotel for ease of access to both PMA and CBU events.

Reduced rates available upon conference registration and payment. 

Please book your accommodation early as the conference rate will only be valid until 21stJuly 2018.

More info

The Courtleigh Hotel

This recommended hotel is within the same compound and walking distance from the conference venue. 

Reduced rates available upon conference registration and payment. 

Please book your accommodation early as the conference rate will only be valid until 1stAugust 2018.

More info

The Knutsford Court Hotel

This recommended hotel is within the same compound and walking distance from the conference venue. 

Reduced rates available upon conference registration and payment. 

Please book your accommodation early as the conference rate will only be valid until 1stAugust 2018.

More info

We have secured a discounted booking code attendees intending to travel with Caribbean Airlines. A reduction of 7% is available for travel between 8-17 August 2018. Once registered to the conference you will be sent the booking code. Please add the code when booking your flight online to secure your discount.


Norman Manley International Airport, Kingston.

The journey time by car from NMIA to the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel is about thirty-five (35) minutes.  Taxis are available from the airport.  The usual fare is USD 30.00 for up to two (2) passengers.

The airport information desk is located just beyond the Immigration Clearance Desk on level one in the arrival terminal.

For more information click here.


The official currency in Jamaica is the Jamaican Dollar. Even though the US Dollar isn’t an official currency, it is often accepted too, particularly in popular tourist areas.

Hotels and restaurants will accept major cards. ATMs will also accept major foreign bank cards but you can only withdraw Jamaican Dollars.

Smaller bars, shops, and hotels may only accept cash, which will be US Dollars in tourist areas and Jamaican Dollars elsewhere.

While US Dollars are accepted in tourist areas, US currency in coin form is not. This means that if you pay for something in US Dollars and require small change, the change will be given in Jamaican Dollars.

You can change money at banks, cambios (currency exchanges) and at hotels or resorts. You can also get Jamaican Dollars from ATMs.


Standard English is the official language of Jamaica. Jamaican Patois, sometimes called Patois or Jamaican Creole, is a creole based on English that is the national language of Jamaica.

Conference Facilities

Hotel facilities at the Jamaica Pegasus are accessible to wheelchairs. Fully adapted accommodation for disabled persons is limited.   For any special needs– including dietary requirements – please include the information in the registration form.


There are two basic kinds of official taxi service in Jamaica: charter taxis (aka ‘tourist taxi’) and route taxis. These official taxis are identified by having RED license plates with two white letters (one of which is ‘P’) and four white digits, indicating they are officially licensed as taxis and insured for passengers.

You can also use Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) approved taxis or minibuses for excursions, airport transfers and sightseeing. Don’t hail a taxi in the street and do not share a taxi with strangers. Most hotels and resorts have assigned JTB drivers who carry photo ID and display a prominent blue JTB sticker on the front windscreen.


There is no risk of yellow fever in Jamaica. The government of Jamaica requires proof of yellow fever vaccination only if you are arriving from a country with risk of yellow fever. If you are traveling from a country other than the US, check this list to see if you may be required to get the yellow fever vaccine: Countries with risk of yellow fever virus (YFV) transmission.

Please click here for further information on vaccinations.

Acceptable health care is available in most major cities and larger towns throughout Jamaica but may be hard to locate in rural areas. To find a good local doctor, it is best to ask the management of the hotel where you are staying.  Health insurance is essential for all travellers to Jamaica. Note that many doctors and hospitals expect payment on the spot, regardless of whether you have travel health insurance.

Many pharmacies are well stocked but important medications may not be consistently available. Be sure to bring along adequate supplies of all prescription drugs.

The Pegasus Hotel has a nurse on duty every day until 11:00pm. There is an on-call doctor if required.  The Medical Associates Hospital is less than a 5 minute drive from the hotel and emergency cases are referred there.


Water is generally safe to drink throughout the island except in the most far-flung rural regions. It is safest, however, to stick with bottled water, which is widely available. It’s a good idea to avoid ice, particularly that sold at street stands. Unless you’re certain that the local water is not contaminated, you shouldn’t drink it.


Jamaica is -5 hours BST.


Jamaica has a tropical climate. In August the island is warm, breezy and often humid, while rain showers are also common – so make sure you pack for all weathers.

The average daytime temperature hovers around 29°C at this time of year and with highs of 33°C you’ll need to protect yourself from the heat by wearing sun cream and seeking shade during the hottest part of the day. The island expects to see around 80mm of rain in August, so although there is a chance of wet weather, any showers will likely be short and refreshing.

Be safe

Jamaicans will typically watch out for guests to their country, however, crime is a reality in Jamaica; and most are “crimes of opportunity.” By taking a few precautions, you can drastically reduce your chance of becoming a target for theft and robbery:

– Avoid getting into isolated situations by only riding in route taxis that already have other passengers.
– Avoid using public transportation after dark when possible.
– Avoid carrying or displaying any valuables while you’re travelling or keep valuables in a small bag that you can hold on your lap.
– Stay alert about your surroundings.

You can contact the emergency services by calling 119 for police, ambulance and fire.


Register your attendance for this year’s conference