Sat | Feb 22, 2020

Guard press freedom, media advocates warn

Published:Friday | May 3, 2019 | 2:07 PM

Press freedom advocates have called for global leaders and citizens to stand up for the right of journalists to hold state actors accountable and push back at attempts by rogue groups in harming members of the media.

Today is celebrated as World Press Freedom Day.

While we cautiously celebrate the continuation of our relatively high degree of press freedom in Jamaica and commend our media professionals for their yeoman efforts in this vein, their colleagues in countries around us ... continue to be persecuted through atrocities up to, and including, murder with impunity by those who wield great power. We have a duty as citizens to ensure that we hold to account those who have the ability to create the environment where these perpetrators can thrive.
- Chairman, Christopher Barnes

We would be callow as a unit if the criticism of the things we lack as journalists or even the things that demand improvement in the media landscape were to cause us to merely acknowledge that Jamaica is indeed one of the safest places to practise journalism. We vow to do what is necessary to protect the freedom enjoyed even as we keep a keen eye on what the Government will eventually do with the controversial Data Protection Act.
- President, George Davis

We urge caution with the development of a culture of disinformation, as our societies depend on credible and relevant information from our media and authority figures, especially in times of crisis through natural events such as hurricanes, earthquakes and volcanic activities, all of which impact our region. On this World Press Freedom Day therefore let us commit to sharing credible information, shun disinformation and continue to build our democracies through strong press freedom and energetic journalism via the media.
- Gary Allen, President

What concerns us is that in almost all the countries in our hemisphere, there exist campaigns of stigmatisation, raised by democratic leaders who seek to reduce credibility of the press in order to govern with greater comfort, such as has been happening in Brazil, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, and the United States. We cannot be calm when freedom of the press and of expression are besieged by violent discussions that are made on social media, as well as by polarisation, by the biased dissemination of information that seeks to twist elections through false news disseminated by armies of bots and cyber militants, actions that have already been incorporated as normal mechanisms in electoral processes.
- President, María Elvira Domínguez

No democracy is complete without access to transparent and reliable information. It is the cornerstone for building fair and impartial institutions, holding leaders accountable and speaking truth to power. I am deeply troubled by the growing number of attacks and the culture of impunity. According to UNESCO, almost 100 journalists were killed in 2018. Hundreds are imprisoned. When media workers are targeted, societies as a whole pay a price.
- Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres

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