Wed | Jul 15, 2020

A media pioneer

Published:Thursday | May 28, 2020 | 12:11 AM

The Media Association Jamaica deeply regrets the passing of Oliver Clarke and hails him as a titan of Caribbean media. Oliver?s mission was one centred on press freedom and media independence.

His most outstanding contribution was his role in turning around an ailing Gleaner Company in the ?70s at a pivotal time when an unpopular political ideology threatened Jamaica. It was on this new-found financial strength that The Gleaner was able to lead a charge to influence Jamaica?s development in all facets.

With his counterparts and friends Harold Hoyte of the Nation in Barbados, J. Lester Spaulding of Radio Jamaica Limited, and Ken Gordon of the Trinidad Express, Oliver championed a united regional media giving birth to the Caribbean News Agency (CANA) and the Caribbean Broadcasting Union.

UNITING FOR A COMMON PURPOSE

His contribution and sustained support for the Media Association Jamaica provided the stable platform for the organisation?s development into the longest such in the region. It was his innate ability to bring like-minded media leaders together to forge a common purpose.

The unique relationship with his friend and competitor, Lester Spaulding, and his remarkable foresight paved the way for the eventual amalgamation of The Gleaner Company and Radio Jamaica Limited, two long-standing and distinct media houses.

He demonstrated his media leadership by bridging the gap between the English-speaking Caribbean and Latin America as a highly competent leader of the Inter-American Press Association, the pre-eminent freedom of the press lobby organisation for the Americas. He brought to IAPA a strong sense of fairness and demonstrated the equality of mission beyond the persistent impression that differences in language were a barrier to unity.

The quality and growth of Jamaica?s media environment and its excellent level of press freedom attained are the legacies of the work and passion of Oliver. His quiet but determined influence helped to shape the media industry of Jamaica and the region.

Oliver Clarke will forever be regarded as a media pioneer, a press freedom fighter and one who transformed the business of media into a critical contributor to national development. Our deepest sympathies are extended to his family and our colleagues within the RJRGLEANER Communications Group.