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Appeals court to begin hearing case brought by gay rights activist against TVJ, CVM and PBCJ

Published:Monday | July 20, 2015 | 9:54 AM

The Appeals Court is today expected to begin hearing arguments in the case brought by gay rights activist and lawyer, Maurice Tomlinson against a 2013 Constitutional Court ruling.

Tomlinson wants the Appeals Court to set aside a ruling that Television Jamaica, CVM TV and the Public Broadcasting Corporation of Jamaica (PBCJ) did not breach the Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms when they refused to broadcast a video promoting tolerance for gays.

The appeal is set to last for five days. 

Tomlinson had suggested that the fact that the Broadcasting Commission of Jamaica viewed the video and found no breach of any of its rules had to be taken into account.

However, the Constitutional Court said it could not overlook the fact that the Broadcasting Commission is a regulator and not the operator of any of the stations.

According to the judges, each of the defendants, TVJ, CVM and PBCJ, must have the right to determine what they broadcast, the time at which any broadcast is made and the manner in which it is done.

Tomlinson is contending in his appeal that the advertisement does not violate broadcasting laws or regulations and as such the television stations are unjustified in refusing to air it.