IPI Honours World's Longest-Serving Editor
Monday, 05 March 2012
Award to be Handed Over at June IPI World Congress in Trinidad & Tobago
VIENNA, Mar. 5, 2012 - IPI announced on Tuesday that it would be honouring Sir Étienne Dupuch OBE posthumously for being the world’s longest-serving editor, at the IPI World Congress 2012 in Trinidad and Tobago in June. Born in 1899, Sir Étienne served as editor and publisher of the Nassau Tribune, in the Bahamas, for an astounding 54 years. Sir Étienne and the Tribune also joined the International Press Institute in the mid-1960s. He passed away in 1991 at the age of 92, and his life and legacy remain an inspiration for defenders of press freedom.
Sir Étienne began his career delivering newspapers, and became editor in 1919 after serving in the First World War. The Nassau Tribune was launched by his father, Leon Dupuch, in 1903, under the slogan “Being Bound to Swear to the Dogmas of no Master”. The newspaper was envisioned to serve all of society. Sir Étienne kept these principles alive; his editorials on social justice and freedom of press were influential. When the Progressive Liberal Party came to power, Sir Étienne foresaw the troubles that lay ahead and despite attempts to pressure the newspaper and even to close it down, he remained committed to a free press. He also taught and inspired many journalists such as Sir Arthur Foulkes, the current Governor-General of the Bahamas, Oswald Brown and John Marquis.
Eileen Dupuch Carron paid tribute to her father’s achievements: “My father was such a giant of a man that it is difficult to know where to begin. His influence touched every aspect of the life of this country as he battled to improve the lot of his people and firmly establish their right to know and freely express their views. He was so passionate about a free press that he was willing to, and in fact did, suffer great financial losses over the years. However, in the end he was vindicated. When he passed the Torch, he knew that democracy had been firmly established in this small part of the world and that his newspaper was on solid ground.” She added: “The fact that we have the tradition of a free press in the Bahamas today can be attributed to his lifetime struggles.”
Sir Étienne also published two books including “The Tribune Story”, which was about the difficulty he faced in running the newspaper and raising a family. He also served in the Bahamian House of Assembly for 31 years, where he acted as a catalyst for civil rights, proposing a bill to ban racial discrimination in public places in 1956. He also served in the Legislative Council and the Senate. Along with his brother, Eugene Dupuch, Sir Étienne championed human rights and equal rights for all regardless of race or colour.
Sir Étienne Dupuch was also recognised internationally for his achievements with an OBE (Order of the British Empire) and knighthood from Queen Elizabeth II and a papal knighthood from Pope Pius XII. He also received a medal from the Royal Arts Society and a citation from the Associated Press Editors Association for his services to journalism in the Bahamas and the Commonwealth.
His legacy lives on through his family, especially through his daughter, Eileen Dupuch Carron, who took over from her father in 1972, and is still the publisher of the Tribune today. She told IPI: “We, The Tribune family, are grateful to IPI for this recognition. It is significant that it comes only a few months after the Bahamas legislature passed into law a Freedom of Information Act.” She added: “Of course for the Bahamas it is indeed a tremendous honour that one of its sons has received this international recognition. No matter what is said about these islands at least we can be proud that today we have a robust democracy with a free press.”
IPI Executive Director Alison Bethel McKenzie said: “We are deeply honoured to give this award to the longest-serving editor of the world. There is no-one who is more deserving for recognition than Sir Étienne Dupuch, not only did he serve the Nassau Tribune for 54 years, he did so with the utmost integrity and value for press freedom.”