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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