Tue | Aug 14, 2018

PAJ welcomes improvement in Ja press freedom ranking

Published:Thursday | April 26, 2018 | 10:31 AM
PAJ President, Dionne Jackson Miller - File photo

The Press Association of Jamaica (PAJ) says its pleased with Jamaica’s continued good showing on the annual World Press Freedom Index, published by press freedom group Reporters Without Borders.

Jamaica moved up two places from eighth last year to sixth this year out of 180 countries.

In its assessment, Reporters Without Borders stated that Jamaica ranks among the countries that most respect freedom of information.

"The very occasional physical attacks on journalists must be offset against this, but no serious act of violence or threat to media freedom has been reported since February 2009, a month that saw two cases of abuse of authority by the Kingston police. The law decriminalising defamation passed by the House of Representatives in 2013 was a step in the right direction," the watchdog agency said.

PAJ President, Dionne Jackson Miller, says while the association is happy about Jamaica’s improved ranking it cannot relax.

"We must be vigilant as the erosion of press freedom can be insidious,” Jackson Miller said in a statement.

“We continue to be concerned about the potential impact of the Data Protection Act on journalism in Jamaica. The Act is now being examined by a Joint Select Committee of Parliament. We have been calling for the practice of journalism to be completely exempted from the provisions of the Act,” said Jackson Miller.

“Even as we celebrate our improved ranking, we acknowledge the threats our colleagues face elsewhere, including physical attacks, and verbal abuse from political leaders,” said Jackson Miller.

The PAJ President stated that the association stands in solidarity with its colleagues around the world, many of whom work in oppressive and dangerous conditions, like the Philippines where the President has warned reporters that they are not exempted from assassination.

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