Jamaica Gleaner : 2020-05-28

OFC : 63 : D15


Champion www.jamaica-gleaner.com | D15 A tireless, fierce of press freedom T HE BROADCASTI­NG Commission is deeply grieved by the passing of the Honourable Oliver Clarke, OJ. Mr Clarke was one of Jamaica’s most successful and visionary businessme­n. He, along with the late J. Lester Spaulding, was the main architect of the industryre­shaping merger of Radio Jamaica and The Gleaner Company. These two diverse media operations were combined to form a regional powerhouse that set the benchmark f or the future of journalism and media in the Caribbean. Mr Clarke was one of the first to see that the industry was being completely disrupted by social media, streaming services and shifts in consumer behaviour, and that swift and decisive action was needed in order to ensure that real journalism could remain economical­ly viable. His wisdom and business talents made him much in demand. He was one of the founders of the Private Sector Organisati­on of Jamaica, and in addition to serving as the chairman of the RJRGLEANER Communicat­ions Group, Mr Clarke also served as the chairman of the Jamaica and fierce champion of press freedom. During his four decades of leadership at The Gleaner Company, he fought for the media to remain free so that they could fearlessly serve the public interest by exposing corruption and wrongdoing, by speaking the truth to power, and by providing citizens with the facts so they could make better-informed decisions and participat­e fully in the life of a democracy. His passions were real, but he also had a superb sense of wry humour. He could gently insult the powerful and pompous with such wit and style that even they would laugh. Oliver Clarke leaves a legacy which may never be matched. The Broadcasti­ng Commission extends its heartfelt condolence­s to his family, friends, colleagues in the private and public sectors and the global media community. National Building Society, JN Bank, and was chairman of the Jamaica National Group up to the time of his passing. He had a lifelong commitment to the improvemen­t of Jamaica, was deeply distressed by the level of violence in the country, and founded the Peace and Love in Society (PALS) organisati­on to try to prevent bloodshed. Perhaps his greatest contributi­on, however, is that he was Jamaica’s most tireless I His nfluence shaped regional media 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 was able to lead a charge to influence Jamaica’s developmen­t in all facets. With his counterpar­ts and friends Harold Hoyte of the in Barbados, J. Lester Spaulding of Radio Jamaica Limited, and Ken Gordon of the Oliver championed a united regional media giving birth to the Caribbean News Agency (CANA) and the Caribbean Broadcasti­ng Union. 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. The Gleaner Nation Trinidad Express, 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

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