Sat | Feb 24, 2018

Court ruling a victory for press freedom

Published:Friday | August 5, 2016 | 12:17 AM


The recent court ruling against the prime minister in the 18 Degrees North court case, which dismissed the injunction to bar the rebroadcast of the investigative programme which focused on Andrew Holness' Beverly Hills mansion, was indeed a victory for free press. I suspect other pending lawsuits on the matter may also sway in this direction.

Professional journalism should not be restricted, not when legitimate questions and concerns are being asked, not when reasoning is presented to fuel discourse, with questions and concerns.

If there is nothing to hide, and nothing improper behind the PM's property acquisition, I see no reason to be nervous about any such rebroadcast. Those who don't care at all need not watch the rebroadcast, if that decision is made by TVJ and Global Reporters for the Caribbean, having received the green light from the court. In my view, filing an injunction only made matters worse, magnifying the concerns and causing one to wonder if indeed there is something to hide.




I watched the programme twice (thanks to YouTube) and found it to be a brilliant piece of investigative journalism work, the likes of which is rarely seen in Jamaican media.

Ironically, the PM and his lawyer were featured prominently in interviews throughout much of the programme. This led one to wonder why an injunction was filed in the first place. Did they misrepresent themselves with their own comments? The PM, we understand, rejected inferences, innuendos, and references made, which is his right, but from a viewer's standpoint, legitimate questions will require satisfactory answers.

The public has a right to hear all sides and decide for themselves. Not everyone is gullible with responses given to legitimate questions. As Jamaicans, we need to start asking more questions about everything and satisfy ourselves with the answers provided.

We need to be more concerned and not simply say, "Time to move on". Journalists must be allowed to do their jobs professionally, without fear or pressure, especially from politicians from any side.