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PAJ says greater media access needed to PM, visiting heads

Published:Friday | October 2, 2015 | 1:39 PM

The Press Association of Jamaica (PAJ) is reiterating calls for local journalists to be given greater access to visiting heads of government.

There are conflicting reports as to why Jamaican journalists were initially prohibited from asking questions of British Prime Minister David Cameron earlier this week.

The PAJ did not take a public position on the situation.

However, it said it was pleased that both offices appear to have recognised that the lack of access was an issue.

According to the association, the allowance of one question per press contingent, along with the stipulation as to which leader a question can be put, is unduly restrictive.

The PAJ also notes that Jamaica House has taken the disgraceful position of restricting media access to Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller.

It notes that Simpson Miller has given very few in-depth interviews during her term in office which would allow individual journalists to adequately probe her ideas and policies.

It says the Prime Minister has, for over two years, refused to hold any press conferences for the wider press corps.

The PAJ says the Prime Minister’s steadfast refusal to face the media is unprecedented in modern times, and is contemptuous of, and dismissive of the Jamaican press to an unbelievable degree.

It's urging Jamaica House to begin to pay the local press the respect it deserves, and to immediately begin to schedule regular press conferences with the Prime Minister, for the benefit of the public.