Proposed code of conduct threatens free speech – MAJ
Below is a statement from the Media Association Jamaica Ltd (MAJ) regarding a proposed code of conduct for educators.
The MAJ notes with concern an element of a proposed plan for a code of conduct for educators being promoted by the education minister, the details of which have recently been brought to light in the media.
The MAJ understands that the code contains a clause, accompanied by sanctions, which seeks to preclude politically active teachers and principals from criticising the programmes and policies of the Ministry of Education in any media, including social media. This code also states that members of school boards will not be allowed to criticise the minister of education or ministry of education personnel in any public fora, including the media.
This element of the code, if passed as proposed, not only flies in the face of freedom of speech, which is a right of all Jamaican citizens, but also ultimately serves to stifle press freedom, as it would have the impact of muzzling important voices of transparency within public-sector administrations operating on behalf of the Jamaican people.
The Media Association will monitor closely this development with the firm hope that the proposed code is sanitised of the offending clause and will vigorously oppose any move which impinges upon the right to freedom of expression.