TVJ reporter says he was not muzzled at Jamaica House press briefing
Jovan Johnson, Gleaner Writer
Television Jamaica reporter, Andre Jebbinson, says he was not muzzled yesterday when an official at Jamaica House forcibly retrieved a microphone from him during a press conference.
Events at the press briefing hosted by Minister with Responsibility for Information, Senator Sandrea Falconer, have resulted in calls from the Press Association of Jamaica for the review of the procedures for press conferences.
The Press Association of Jamaica (PAJ) has condemned actions of Huntley Medley, the Director of Communications in the Office of the Prime Minister for forcibly removing the microphone from Jebbinson.
Medley was also criticised for instructing that the microphone of another journalist be turned off.
Medley has explained that he had to act in order to have other journalists participate in the press briefing.
In a Facebook post this afternoon, Jebbinson said Medley could have been more tactful in retrieving the microphone.
However, he said he was not offended that the communication director wanted to facilitate other journalists.
Jebbinson said he insisted on asking several questions on the controversial Outameni purchase by the National Housing Trust because it was the first chance the press got to officially pose questions at the government.
"I am however cognizant of the fact that Mr. Medley's role was to facilitate other journalists who would have had questions. I managed to get in about nine questions at first which I consider to be much latitude. I am not offended that he wanted to move the questioning along and I do not feel muzzled by his actions," he wrote.
Meanwhile, Senator Falconer responded to Jebbinson’s Facebook post, commending the reporter for what she calls his honesty for stating that he did not feel muzzled.
"It is amazing how some people with ulterior motives can spin stories. I have to credit Andre Jebbinson for being honest and showing the world that no one was trying to muzzle the media," wrote Falconer.
In a statement this morning, Medley said he would never be party to any attempt to muzzle journalists in the performance of their duties.
He said, although his motives were correct, his methods “might not have been best”.
The Opposition has called for Falconer and Medley to apologise.
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