Prime Minister’s Office responds to journalist-shoving incident
The Office of the Prime Minister has responded to media reports about the shoving of a Television Jamaica reporter who was seeking to question her about the reinstatement of junior transport and works minister Richard Azan.
The Prime Minister was in Rose Town, Kingston at a dedication ceremony for a water and sewer project when she was approached by the reporter.
Television footage shows that while the Prime Minister was leaving the venue, TVJ reporter Vashan Brown approached her and asked her about the project.
In the same interview Brown asked Simpson Miller to respond to criticisms about the reinstatement of Azan who was forced to resign two months ago over the illegal construction of shops at the Spalding Market.
Based on TV footage, the Prime Minister told the reporter that she would not respond to the Azan question saying if she did so, the journalist would only report on that issue and not the water and sewer project which she wanted to be televised.
The reporter continued to press the Prime Minister for an answer however, but she declined, walking away and at the same time, pushing away the reporter’s microphone.
At that point, two of her close protection officers intervened shoving the reporter.
The Prime Minister then told the reporter that when she travelled overseas has never had microphones being pushed at her.
SEE FULL STATEMENT FROM THE OFFICE OF THE PRIME MINISTER:
OPM clarifies incident
The Office of the Prime Minister, OPM, wishes to clarify media reports of an incident today in Rose Town which involved contact between a journalist and the Prime Minister’s Close Protection Officers.
At the end of a function at which the Prime Minister launched infrastructural works in the community of Rose Town, a journalist sought to engage in an impromptu un-cleared interview with the Prime Minister.
The Prime Minister did entertain the journalist’s questions on the Rose Town Development Project after which he approached the Prime Minister to get a comment on the reinstatement of State Minister Richard Azan.
The Prime Minister responded on to the question and encouraged the journalist to share the good news about the developments taking place in Rose Town, before indicating she would wish no further comment on the reinstatement issue.
The journalist attempted to continue his questioning, moving toward the Prime Minister, at which point the PM’s security personnel began to clear a path for the Prime Minister to proceed to inspect the amenities launched as part of the community development project.
This unfortunate incident follows on a similar one earlier this year of journalists pushing microphones at the Prime Minister in an attempt to have questions answered.
Following that incident, guidelines were established for the proper management of on-location interviews with the Prime Minister, one of which calls for advanced notice of request for such interviews and the clearance of interviews with the Prime Minister’s on-site personnel.
The Government fully supports press freedom and the right of journalists to ask questions of the Prime Minister but must insist this be done in a manner respectful of the office and in keeping with the stated guidelines.
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