Handling of OPM briefing concerns PAJ, Grange
Opposition Spokesperson on Information Olivia Grange yesterday expressed outrage at the recent treatment of media representatives by government functionaries.
In a statement yesterday, following the Jamaica House press briefing on Wednesday, she highlighted the removal of a microphone from Television Jamaica (TVJ) reporter Andre Jebbinson and the cutting of the microphone of Nationwide News reporter Abka Fitz-Henley, to prevent their further questioning of Information Minister Sandrea Falconer.
"This is the latest in a series of incidents where members of the media are interfered with by government functionaries. I am very disappointed and make special note of the attitude of the information minister, a journalist by profession, who has seemingly forgotten the tenets of good media management," she said.
Huntley Medley, director of the Communication and Public Affairs Department at the OPM, noted that while it was the right of the journalists to seek information on behalf of the public, reporters must exercise care and a level of professionalism when doing their jobs.
The Press Association of Jamaica (PAJ) said the two journalists involved in the incident were fulfilling their responsibilities to get information in the public interest. .
"In displaying their persistence in asking questions on a matter of significant national interest they were doing what any good journalist would do," the PAJ said.
"It must be acknowledged that the organiser's of press conferences must have the right to allow other journalists present to ask questions, and it must be within their right to ask journalists asking questions to yield. However, the process at the press briefing on Wednesday was not handled professionally."