Barbados Facts & Figures

File:Flag of Barbados.svg
File:Flag of Barbados.svg

external image 85px-Coat_of_arms_of_Barbados.png
Coat of arms
Motto: "Pride and Industry"
Anthem: "National Anthem of Barbados"
external image LocationBarbados.png
(and largest city)
external image 17px-WMA_button2b.png13°0′N 59°32′W
Official language(s)
Regional languages

- Upper House
- Lower House
House of Assembly
Government Type
Parliamentary Democracy and
Constitutional Monarchy
Total Population
286 705
Ethnic Groups
80% Afro-Bajan
16%Asian and Multiracial
4% European
external image _45837353_barbados226.gif

Communications Statistics

Telephone Usage (Landline)
135 700
Telephone Usage (Mobile)
337 100
Internet Hosts
1 508
Internet Users
188 000
(Source: World Factbook of CIA)

Located as the furthest eastern Caribbean island, Barbados is considered amongst the more populous and prosperous nations within the developing world. This is primarily due to its stability in political, economical and social affairs that allow Barbadians full freedom of expression (BBC 2011). Whilst once of British imperialism, the island of Barbados gained full independence in 1966; simultaneously maintaining British monarchy ties in joining the Commonwealth of Nations, yet arising as a free nation under the governing of its first Prime Minister, Errol Barrow, of the Democratic Labour Party. The establishment of a democratic and self-governing system has remained constant and unchanging throughout the developing librealised citizenry of the Barbados nation (Lonely Planet 2011).
With the Barbadian population largely of African slave descendants brought to work the sugar cane plantations in the 17th Century, the new independent nation of Barbados has seen a collaborative exchange and dissemination of information between the government and the general public that was otherwise thought highly dubious with consideration to such historical political process; and yet such freedom of open regulatory policies is reflected primarily within the developing role of the Barbados mass media (BBC 2011).

Historical Development of the Media in Barbados

The 20th Century saw a development in the media landscape for the small island of Barbados. In an attempt to maintain the cultural heritage and values of the region, the establishment of mass media was embraced as an opportunity to preserve and disseminate the Barbadian culture, as well as promoting cultural diversity within the Caribbean (SOIMA In Practice 2007). Thus in wake of this trend towards globalisation, two core media entities were established; the Government Information Service (GIS) in 1958, the former official communications department of the Barbados Government and was “responsible for the dissemination of public information the various news media and the general public,” (Bajan Sun Classifieds 2011) and the Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), which quickly developed radio and television stations in 1963 and 1964. Adopting an open policy in respect to press freedom and media regulations, the Barbados Government entitles the broadcast media to operation free of censorship and state control.

However, far from flawless, this extensive history of open policy has enabled subjection to scandals of bribery and corruption in recent years. The Barbados Free Press was established as an online watchdog in respect to this “long-established” existence of corruption and limited share in media ownership (Barbados Free Press 2011). Largely of government and privatised acquisition, Barbadians are ultimately regulated in exposure to new media and national or international interests through the filter of such state-owned broadcasting corporations. Accordingly, the impacting influence this has in tendency towards an imbalance of ownership, indicates an increasing trend towards oligopoly (Errington, W and Miragliotta, N 2007, pp.72). In this sense of concern, the state of regulation and ownership of the media is subjected to measures out of political motivations, (Chan, J.M 2005, pp.26) which would see a large scale effort of influence that imposes state control over media and ‘trafficking media flows,’ which in turn has implications for how the citizens of Barbados receive global and local media, and hence their perceptions, values, aims and beliefs. Thus the freedom of expression that Barbados citizens enjoy, is often put to use in critically observing their government’s power, actions and policies.

As such, the island of Barbados is slowly seeing a transformation into the global media world that exists around them (Totally Barbados 2011). Although highly governed in terms of media by the CBC, which encourages media flows throughout the Caribbean, Barbados is starting to assume a more global state in media, as companies such as LIME have enhanced Internet access to “centralised” media (LIME 2010) determining usage to be easier and less a tool of exclusion with declining costs and rates (Business Barbados 2010). It is simultaneously this global media exposure, which will in turn prevent Barbados becoming a nation of regulated media and information flow, and instead assume its standing in freedom of expression and open policy that its government details.

Ownership of the Barbados Media

Barbados media ownership is split amongst government and private/public companies. As a whole, media ownership in Barbados is dominated by government owned productions, primarily television. The two main media providers include Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) and One Caribbean Media limited (OCM).
The television broadcasting in Barbados is owned by the government and is under a Barbadian legislation. CBC is the main provider of television in Barbados. Whilst OCM provides cable television under its subcompany, Starcom Network Inc. The radio stations are owned by government and private/public companies: the CBC, One Caribbean Media Limited and the Caribbean Media Corporation. Along with many private and public companies providing print media.

The media ownership in Barbados has been split into two categories: government and public/private owned.

Government-Owned Media

Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) (Television/Radio)

The //Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation// (CBC) is a government-owned company that was created in 1963 through an Act of Parliament. They operate three radio stations and the only terrestrial television station in Barbados. These include CBC TV 8, The One 98.1, Q100.7FM and 94.7FM. In addition to providing public broadcasting services to the community, the CBC also operates a cable TV service, Multi Choice TV (MCTV). Even though it is a government-owned company, it broadcasts a wide range of political views (CBC 2011).

Multi Choice TV (MCTV)
**The One 98.1**
external image cbctv8.png
external image 98-logo.png
external image q-fm-logo.png
external image 94.7logo.png

Public Broadcast Service (PBS)

The Public Broadcast Service (PBS) is a government-owned educational radio and television broadcast service. It operates the radio station 91.1FM as an educational radio station aimed at audiences ranging from school children to adults under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Education and Human Resource Development. Education Minister Patrick Todd (2008) revealed that the radio station is part of the plan to develop a "24-hour radio station, a 24-hour television station and a supporting website" that will aim to provide additional education services for the public as well as teaching and learning in the classroom, homework and practice exercise. PBS offers themselves as an an educational source equip with the capacity to offer certified training courses in teaching, public services such as the police force, defense force and training courses in fire fighting. The website will act as an archival library for programs broadcasted on their television and radio station (Coward 2008).

More of Education Minister Patrick Todd's press release can be found here

Public/Private-Owned media

One Caribbean Media Limited

One Caribbean Media Limited (OCM) is a public company that provides media services such as newspapers, radio, television, internet, and new media throughout the Caribbean region. It was founded in December 2005 following the merger of Caribbean Communications Network (CCN) and The Nation Corporation. It includes their subsidiaries, Starcom Network Inc., Print Web Caribbean Limited and The Nation Publishing Company Limited. Terrence Farrell was the CEO of OCM but resigned on June 2010 after two years in this position because of a dramatic decrease in profit. Sir Fred Gallop continues to be the chairman of OCM (Broad Street Journal 2010).

"OCM is the largest and most diversified media organisation in the Caribbean, with businesses in newspapers, radio, television, Internet and new media. It operates in Trinidad and Tobago,
Barbados, Grenada and St Lucia. It owns the Trinidad Express and CCN-TV6 in Trinidad and the Nation newspaper in Barbados" (Broad Street Journal 2010). Together, One Caribbean Media limited and it's subsidiaries has dominant holdings in such media outlets in Barbados as:

  • Starcom Network Inc.
Starcom began it's broadcast in 1935. It is a subscription cable network system where users would pay on a monthly basis for its regular daily transmissions of relays of BBC, American and Canadian short wave station programs. Later on, the station included local news services that was broadcasted to the nation of Barbados. Starcom has expanded to include more radio stations that provide specific services to reach wider audiences within Barbados. These include the Voice of Barbados, YESS 104.1FM (which later became Love 104.1FM), Hott 95.3FM (to cater to under 25s) and Gospel 97.5FM (Starcom Network Inc 2011).

  • The Nation Publishing Company Limited
It is the leading print media group in Barbados that started publishing in November 1973, publishing the Nation Newspaper, which is the dominant daily newspaper in Barbados that delivers on a daily basis under: Daily Nation for Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays; Midweek Nation for Wednesdays; Weekend Nation for Fridays; and Saturday Sun and Sunday Sun respectively. It also publishes specialty and niche market publications such as Friends Magazine, Ignition Plus Magazine, Barbados Business Authority, Better Health Magazine and Nation Work Book. Under it's various publications The Nation circulates 31,533 publication daily.The Nation is also responsible for the publication of The Visitor, a visitor- oriented publication. (History of The Nation 2005).

"The Nation newspapers all carry the motto “The Nation Cares” as a statement of its commitment to reliability of information, responsiveness in communication and responsibility in presentation. Its mission is to assist in improving the quality of life of Barbadians by protecting the principle of Freedom of the Press and contributing to the economic, political and moral health of the country" (News/Editorial 2005).

The Daily Nation
Barbados Business Authority
Better Health Magazine
external image daily-nation.jpg
external image 2078372.jpg
Better Health Magazine
Better Health Magazine

Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC)

The Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC) a regional media organisation specialising in radio, television, print, satellite uplink distribution, and new media. In August 2000, The Caribbean Media Corporation was founded as a result of a merger between Caribbean News Agency (CANA) and the Caribbean Broadcasting Union'scmc.jpg commercial operations (CMC 2010).

  • Caribbean News Agency (CANA)
The Caribbean News Agency, also known as CanaNews provides "minute-by-minute" regional developments in news coverage via print, video and audio. The agency operates CanaNews, CaribVision, CanaNews Mobile and CricketPlus. CanaNews maintains it's presence and ownership in Barbados under subscriptions online and on print as well as CanaNews Mobile.4CaribVision5 serves as CANA's television coverage. Launched in August 2006, CaribVision produces region specific content on a 24-hour CMC's Cable television channel. CricketPlus was acquired by CANA in 2000 and provides "live" coverage of cricket within the Caribbean (CMC 2010).
  • Caribbean Broadcasting Union (CBU)
It was formed in 1970 in order to improve the quality of news and television produced within the Caribbean region. It reaches to over 4.8 million people."In fulfilling its commitment to the deepening of the integration process, CBU functions in both an advocacy and representation role. As a regional institution, it facilitates discussion and analysis that assist in policy formulation on major integration issues" (CaribUnion 2011).

Broad Street Journal (Newspaper)

The Broad Street Journal is an independent journal in Barbados that provides news relating particularly to Barbados business sector and economy. The regional company is privately owned by the Harris Paints group. The Harris Paints group distributes products for commercial, residential and industrial use to 15 countries within the Caribbean. It is owned by the CEO, Ian Kenyon (BSJ 2010).

The Broad Street Journal

Barbados Advocate

The //Barbados Advocate// is the longest continually published newspaper in Barbados, as first established in 1895. It is the second most popular newspaper in Barbados The newspaper is privately owned and publishes a wide selection of subject matters ranging in local, regional and international news, as well as the latest on politics, business, sports and entertainment. It is one of two daily newspapers in the country (the other is The Daily Nation). The Advocate also published a visitor newspaper called The Sunseeker. (Vacation In Barbados 2011)

Online Media

  • Internet News Media
    Barbados Internet News Media is predominantly foreign-owned. These include sites such as Barbados News, Big News Network, Caribbean Net News, Caribseek, EIN News, index Mundi, Inside Caribbean, One World and Topix. Newspapers such as, Nation News and Barbados Advocate provide online content in addition to their printed source. Barbados Today and the Broad Street Journal also feature online content.
  • Online Media Centre
    Media Barbadosis a media centre and cultural website. It is a community project that was established by an educational provider called DEVMAX, Barbados, in 2009. They aim to provide educational media on Barbados. It was formed to allow small businesses and organisations to access another platform of advertisement (Media Barbados Project 2011, pers. comm. 7 August). It helps to demonstrate the Barbadian culture through videos and documentaries on the culture, business and travel to internet users. It provides Barbadians with social networking sites and useful links to their organisations and businesses. Video services and new media are freely provided for Barbadian businesses to create online contributions, in order to help market products and services worldwide (Media Barbados 2011). Media Barbados has established this platform in order to communicate to the internet users around the world. Through this new platform of online media, they aim to provide information in the culture and gradual development of Barbados. It is also a new method of expanding the growth of Barbadian businesses and organisations.

Regulation of Barbados Media


The official communications department of the Barbados Government is the Barbados Government Information Service (BGIS). Established in 1958, its primary responsibility is to relay public information to news media and the public. The aim of the BGIS is to inform the public of the actions of the government, impacting upon general opinion on governmental matters. Trained Information Officers and Public Relations Officers work under Ministries and Government Departments and are equipped to convey and manage the relation of government policies and plans. The Department is made up of three sectors: Press, Radio and Television (BGIS 2009)


The Telecommunications Act, Cap 282B (also known as the Telecommunications Act) outlines the regulations for the use of telecommunication media in Barbados. It defines 'broadcasting' as "the one-way transmission of sound images or other programming to the general public on any basis, and whether delivered by radio waves, cable, terrestrial or satellite means, or by other electronic delivery" (Part I Section 2) (The World Law Guide 2001).

The Minister and Commission are both responsible for the regulation of media under this Act. As such, Part VII (32) of the Act states that "the universal service policy of the Government of Barbados is aimed at ensuring that every resident and every business enterprise of Barbados has access to reliable, affordable telecommunications services throughout Barbados on an equitable basis." Telecommunications and media outlets that are established under this Act may have access (subject to the Minister's decision) to the Universal Service Fund which funds the carriers and service providers of the universal service (The World Law Guide 2001).

A person must also own a licence to operate and/or own a telecommunications network. A person found to be contravening this particular section can be convicted and fined $500 000 or can face up to 5 years imprisonment.
Other legislation cited in the Telecommunications Act that relates to the regulation of media in Barbados include the Fair Trading Commission Act and the Utilities Regulation Act (The World Law Guide 2001).

The Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation was created under the Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation Act 1963. The Act (Part II 3.1) states:
"...there shall be a corporation, to be called the Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation...whose function shall be to provide, in accordance with this Act, broadcasting services of high quality both as to the transmission and as to the matter transmitted."
Under this Act, the CBC is "mandated to provide public service broadcasting to the community" (CBC 2011).

Media Watch

One of the non-legal methods of regulating media is the Barbados Free Press (BFP). The online blog acts as a watchdog for the people, reporting on issues regarding the corruption and culture of bribery of the Barbados government. The rationale for the site aims to make the Barbados and international community aware of the situation by "...examining the Barbados government's actions, inaction and policies with a critical eye in decisions regarding Barbados investments, property ownership and business deals" (BFP 2006).

In March 2011, the BFP reported on the influence of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) on Barbados journalists in their article, China gives Barbados journalists "Hard-to-resist treats, free trips, all expenses paid... and flattery. The BFP claims Barbados media, such as The Nation, Barbados Advocate and Barbados Today, have been publishing the CCP's foreign propaganda in an attempt to sway global public opinion towards China in exchange for paid trips to China and other benefits. The reporting of this issue demonstrates the BFP's role as a watchdog and protector of the people, and thus aids in regulating the media in Barbados (BFP 2011).


About 2011, Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation, accessed August 5 2011,<>

About The Caribbean Broadcasting Union, accessed 9 August 2011 <>

About OCM, History 2011, One Caribbean Media Limited, accessed 8 August 2011 <>

As revenue stays flat but profit rises farrell quits as CEO of one of Caribbean's Largest Media Company, media release, published June 25, accessed 12 August 2011 <>

Bajan Sun Classifieds 2011, Barbados Government Information Services (GIS), Bajan Sun Online, accessed 3 August 2011

Barbados Country Profile 2011, BBC, accessed 9 August 2011, <>

Barbados Free Press 2011, Wordpress, accessed 3 August 2011, <>

Barbados Free Press 2011, Wordpress, China gives Barbados journalists "Hard-to-resist treats, free trips, all expenses paid... and flattery, accessed 3 August 2011,

Barbados Guides: Print and Broadcast Media, accessed 11 August 2011 <>

Barbados Newspapers and News Media - National and Foreign, accessed 10 August 2011 <>

BGIS Media: History 2009, Barbados Government Information Service, accessed 6 August 2011, <>

Business Barbados 2010, Policy, Caribbean Business Publications Inc., accessed 4 August 2011

Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation Cap.276, accessed 5 August 2011, <>

Caribbean Media Corporation, accessed August 2011, <>

Central America and Caribbean: Barbados 2011, accessed 10 August 2011 <>

Chan, J. M., 2005, ‘Global Media and the Dialectics of the Global,’ Global Media and Communication, vol 1, no. 1, pp. 24-28

Company Profile 2011, Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation, accessed 8 August 2011 <>

Company Profile 2010, Caribbean Media Corporation, accessed 8 August 2011 <>

Company Profile 2005, The Nation Publishing Co. Limited, accessed 8 August 2011 <>

Coward, S 2008, "Barbados Ministry of Education Launches Public Broadcast Service", Caribbean Press Releases.Com, 24 October, accessed 12 August 2011, <>

Errington, W and Miragliotta, N 2007, Media & Politics: An Introduction, Oxford University Press, Melbourne

Harris Paints host its first-ever supplier conference, media release, published May 19, 2010, accessed 7 August 2011 <>

History 2009, Barbados Government Information Service, accessed 11 August 2011 <>

LIME, Barbados: About Us, LIME, accessed 6 August 2011

Lonely Planet 2011, History of Barbados, BBC, accessed 6 August 2011<>

Media Barbados 2011, accessed 6 August 2011 <>

Media Barbados Project 2011, email 7 August <>

News/Editorial 2005, The Nation Publishing Co. Limited, accessed 10 August 2011 <>

News & Media Organisations 2011, Commonwealth of Nations, accessed 5 August 2011 <>

One Caribbean Media Limited 2011, accessed 9 August 2011 <>

SOIMA In Practice 2007, Preserving Barbadian Heritage, ICCROM, accessed 5 August 2011 <>

Starcom Network Inc Media Group 2011, One Caribbean Media Limited, accessed 9 August 2011, <>

Telecommunication Legislations 2001, accessed 10 August 2011 <>

Totally Barbados 2008, Barbados Ministry of Education: Media Resource Department, accessed 15 August 2011 <>

The World Law Guide: Legislation Barbados, Telecommunications Act Cap. 282B, accessed 5 August 2011,

Vacation In Barbados 2011, The Barbados Advocate Newspaper, accessed 7 August 2011, <>