Sat | Jan 22, 2022

Freedom of expression for all

Published:Friday | March 1, 2019 | 12:00 AM


Freedom of expression and opinion is the cornerstone of a free and democratic society. It forms the very fabric of our respective culture and human rights. Our nation consists of very colourful, pleasant and expressive personalities. For those in doubt, just tune in to 7:00 p.m. TVJ news for an eyewitness report of an incident.

The literature on freedom of expression is extensive and consistent: The Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms speaks specifically to the right of freedom of expression. This freedom is further highlighted in Section 13(3)(c) of the Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedom. Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) states that “everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive, and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers”.

The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which Jamaica became party to on December 19, 1966, articulates that (1) “Everyone shall have the right to hold opinions without interference” and (2) “Everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression.”

In recent times, there has been much discourse regarding ladies of a prominent law school and dancehall. It is my view that the perception and conflicting views of both parties may have been conceptualised from different vantage points. I am pretty confident that after all these discussions, there is now a meeting of the minds and commonality. As depicted above, the right to freedom of expression is clear and specific.

This right is not restricted to any one class or group of people. I fully support the beautiful ladies and their prodigious depiction of our culture. However, might I remind us that the media companies also have this right of freedom to share and disclose information on whichever platform they deem reasonable to reach their audience.

What may be seen as bricks being hurled by the media at one’s character may very well turn out to be the bricks upon which a career is built.

Based on the media’s coverage of same, I, along with several of my colleagues, went and supported the Law School Exposition, which may have been the biggest in the history of the law school.

Richard B. Longmore


University of London