Government Panics, Censors Press Freedom in Journalism Week?' -Grange

Release Date: 
Thursday, November 27, 2014 - 15:45

Opposition Spokesperson on Information Olivia Grange is today expressing outrage at the recent treatment of media representatives by government functionaries. The government action of censoring and threatening the press can be seen as a panic response she observed.

Referring to the recent Jamaica House Press Briefing, Ms. Grange highlighted the removal of a microphone from a journalist and the cutting of the microphone on another to prevent their further questioning of the Minister of Information.  Ms Grange says this is part of a continuing trend: "This is the latest in a series of incidents where members of the media are interfered with by government functionaries. I am very disappointed and make special note of the attitude of the Information Minister, Sandrea Falconer, a journalist by profession, who has seemingly forgotten the tenets of good media management".

Ms. Grange continued: "This series of incidents have been worsened with the reported threats of a functionary of the OPM against a media house which reported on the incidents at the press briefing.  This allegation must be investigated thoroughly as I don't think that this level of intimidation and open censorship of press by government has been experienced in Jamaica since the 1970s, and it must be prevented from returning at all costs." She noted further: Lest we forget under the Suppression of Crimes Act this administration introduced extremely stringent limits on media access and reportage of governments activities. They prevented the press from releasing information be it ‘True or False’.

According to Ms. Grange, "It is ironic that during Journalism Week members of the media are not free to ask questions and are disrespected by members of the government. This is not the type of democracy we want and this is definitely not how a modern society expects the media to be treated. The Information Minister should publicly apologize for the actions of herself and Mr. Huntley Medley, and the Prime Minister should by her actions in respect of her personnel, make it clear that she does not support this abuse of the Press".

Ms. Grange has expressed her support to the Press Association of Jamaica and encourages them to take strong action to safegaurd themselves against these signals of a clear and present danger to press freedom in Jamaica".

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