Mon | Oct 3, 2022

Chaplin was a press warrior

Published:Monday | August 5, 2019 | 12:16 AM


Ken Chaplin was among a fading list of warriors for journalism at a time when the ranks of the Fourth Estate have been woefully depleted.

Ken was not only a front-line soldier, but he was among those who put a lot of his own resources and time into building and strengthening the institution of journalism in Jamaica,

His association with the Press Association of Jamaica (PAJ) was legendary, serving in the highest executive positions with honour and purpose.

Ken’s professionalism passed most, if not all, acid tests having served as press secretary to prime ministers in a vicious, polarised political system. I recall how he distinguished himself serving as head of the then Police Information Centre during one of the most testing political periods in Jamaica.

Unlike some of us, Ken was not afraid to speak truth to power – one of the missing tenets in modern Jamaican journalism. From my perspective, Ken’s death has brought to the debating table the re-examination of the concept of the free press in Jamaica.

Is there such a thing as a free and independent press in Jamaica? How many journalists in Jamaica dare write their honest opinions and have it printed or broadcast? How many journalists can investigate the rich and powerful without either losing their columns, or jobs, because they cross the imaginary line?

How many of us can say we are not the puppets of the rich? They pull the strings and we dance. Can we deny that we are no better than mercenaries?.

Sleep sound, Ken Chaplin.