Fri | Nov 16, 2018

Media should boycott Portia

Published:Tuesday | February 16, 2016 | 12:00 AM


I got a bellyful of laughter recently when the Press Association of Jamaica (PAJ), through none other than its president, Dionne Jackson-Miller, came out publicly stating that it would be a "huge step backwards, and one we would condemn strongly", in reference to the People's National Party's decision to withdraw from the national political debates.

This is the same toothless PAJ that allowed Prime Minister Simpson Miller to ignore it totally. More than four years into her reign as PM, Simpson Miller has rarely sat down with PAJ members to conduct an interview on the affairs of the country.

I am sure that Jamaica, of all the other close to two hundred democracies and countries with a free press, is the only country to have allowed the head of government to commit such blatant disregard for its people and the media.

The media's primary function is to be the eyes, ears and voice of the populace and to see to the protection of citizens' rights; to hold the government accountable and transparent; and to highlight and report to the public all issues of national importance. Our press corps has failed the Jamaican people miserably in this regard.

The PAJ needs to increase its pressure tenfold on the PM until she abandon her stance of not sitting with the media one-on-one, as well as to pressure for the completion and release of the FINSAC report, and to ascertain the truth behind the Trafigura affair.

Until the PM complies, the media should withdraw their coverage of the prime minister whenever she is on her image tours, like the cutting of ribbons, breaking of ground, issuing out titles, and giving hugs and kisses etc.