Sun | Mar 18, 2018

PAJ calls for PM's office to review press conference procedures

Published:Thursday | November 27, 2014 | 2:15 PM

The Press Association of Jamaica (PAJ) is calling for the Office of the Prime Minister to review the procedures now in place to manage its press conferences.

The call follows two incidents yesterday at a Jamaica House press briefing.

In the first incident, a microphone was forcibly taken from a television journalist by the Office of the Prime Minister’s Director of Communications, Huntley Medley.

In another incident, Medley instructed that another journalist's microphone be turned off.

In a statement, the PAJ said it was standing by the two journalists who it believes were fulfilling their responsibilities to get information in the public interest.

The PAJ says in displaying their persistence in asking questions on a matter of significant national interest they were doing what any good journalist would.

The PAJ says while the organisers of press conferences have the right to allow and deny questions, this process was not handled professionally at Wednesday’s media briefing.

The association says the OPM must find better ways to manage press conferences other than to have officials physically wresting microphones from journalists.  

According to the PAJ this is unacceptable.

The PAJ also used the opportunity to register its concerns regarding the frequency of post-Cabinet press briefings, and the inadequacy of answers to questions of national interest provided at many such press conferences.

The association says the OPM must ensure that officials who are properly able to respond to the issues are present at such briefings.

It also says although procedures must be followed, overall, there must be adequate time allowed for questions and answers.

The PAJ also called on the Prime Minister to engage with the press on a regular basis and to hold, press briefings in which she can address issues of national importance.

According to the PAJ, the OPM has come up lacking in relation to transparency.

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