PAJ wants media exempted from Data Protection Act
The Press Association of Jamaica (PAJ) wants the media to be exempted from the provisions of the Data Protection Act.
The PAJ made the call today as it appeared before the Joint Select Committee of Parliament examining the legislation.
The PAJ says although section 37 exempts journalism from some provisions of the data processing regime, it still has several problems with the Bill.
It says enactment of the Bill in its current form is likely to generate challenges to the publication of important stories which will necessitate expensive and time-consuming court proceedings.
The PAJ also says it’s concerned attempts will be made to use the courts to prevent publication of material, which is inimical to freedom of the press.
It’s also worried that decisions under the Act will be up to the "all-powerful" Data Commissioner, who is an agent of the State.
PAJ President Dionne Jackson Miller told the Committee that although the recommendation that journalism be exempted sounds far-reaching and bold, it is not.
Noting that the Act would be trying to ensure responsible journalism, she argued that Jamaica’s stringent defamation law regime already addresses this issue.
She said there is therefore no need for additional legislative restrictions.