Tue | Sep 26, 2017

PAJ issues warning to gov't on press freedom

Published:Monday | May 15, 2017 | 5:42 PM

The Press Association of Jamaica (PAJ) has issued a warning to the Government that it will not stand quietly by and allow Jamaica’s constitutionally protected rights to freedom of expression be eroded.

The warning follows a statement on Friday in the Senate by information minister, Ruel Reid, that the Government is to introduce a policy to address the consumption and influence of media content.

According to him, there was a clear need to find a new balance between privacy rights and legitimate security concerns in the age of social media.

He told the Upper House that the Broadcasting Commission and the Government are having discussions and he will be bringing forward certain proposals for managing the media landscape.

However, the PAJ says it’s concerned about the statements.

It says they raise several questions about the government’s intentions concerning press freedom, and freedom of expression of the Jamaican people in general.

In a letter to Senator Reid today, the PAJ asked whether it is the government’s intention to enact legislation to impose further regulation on the media, and if so, of what kind.

The PAJ also questioned whether the government intends to try to regulate the content which Jamaican citizens can now freely access on the Internet and if it intends to seek to promulgate ethical guidelines for operation of media.

Senator Reid has also been asked whether the government has started any process of promulgating policy or legislation dealing with regulation of content on the internet

In addition, the PAJ wants to know the purpose of the discussions with the Broadcasting Commission when the Commission has no jurisdiction over content on the Internet.

The PAJ says it trusts that the government has no plans to put in place any policies or laws that would cause damage to Jamaica’s excellent reputation for press freedom.