Delano Seiveright, the former president of the Jamaica Labour Party's young professionals arm Generation 2000 (G2K) has urged the Press Association of Jamaica (PAJ) to re-examine its role in promoting journalistic fairness in Jamaica.
In a release yesterday to coincide with today's election of an executive body to lead the PAJ over the next two years, Seiveright expressed concern about some aspect of the operation of the local media.
"With the PAJ's annual general meeting on Sunday (today) to elect a new executive, I do hope that a recommitment to the journalistic principle of fairness is held sacrosanct," said Seiveright.
"Greater effort must be made to get a broader range of commentators with more varied viewpoints in addition to highlighting summaries of biographical details. Additionally, the PAJ and the MAJ (Media Association of Jamaica) should delay no longer and get off the ground a media complaints council, empowered to accept complaints about media entities from members of the public," added Seiveright.
2010 letter to PAJ
The former G2K head, who is now a talk-show host and regular contributor to The Gleaner, said in 2010 he wrote to the PAJ expressing concern about the practice of political commentators, columnists and financial analysts being given coverage by the press without any or little mention of previous and. or current roles.
"As is the mainstream standard in other countries including the USA, Britain and Canada, a brief profile of news-media commentators and analysts is highlighted for the viewers' benefit and to provide a perspective of any inherent biases which their commentary may have," said Seiveright in that 2010 letter.
He said very little efforts have been made to address those concerns over the past two years.
But in a swift response, PAJ president Jenni Campbell noted that the entity neither owns nor instructs media houses.
"This matter is one for individual media houses to decide so Mr Seiveright is barking up the wrong tree," said Campbell.
The PAJ president, who is up for re-election today, also noted that the entity has an established code of ethics that has been ratified by its almost 400 members while a complaints council has to be set up in tangent with the MAJ, which has so far been opposed to this move.