PAJ wants Reporters Allowed to use Tapes in Court


The Press Association of Jamaica (PAJ) has resolved to advocate for the media to be allowed to use small, audio recording equipment, such as those produced by the American company Dictaphone, to record court sessions.
The concern was among several issues raised at Tuesday morning’s (May 3)World Press Freedom Day forum, hosted by the PAJ and the Media Association of Jamaica, at the Knutsford Court Hotel, New Kingston.
Members noted that it was difficult to monitor and document activities during court sittings using notepads only, given the complexity of the cases and the activities in court.
Members agreed that it was understandable that cameras would not be admitted during sensitive cases, such as those having to do with sexual assault and family matters, but felt that they could be allowed for other types of cases, such as gun cases. They also argued that the laws governing the recording of sittings need updating, in keeping with current realities and with what obtains in other parts of the world.
Other topics discussed at the breakfast forum were: Libel Laws (Desmond Richards, Managing Editor, Sunday Herald); Prisoners’ Right to be Heard, (Arthur Hall, Gleaner Reporter); Enabling/Disabling Laws such as the Official Secrets Act, Access to Information, and Whistle-blower Act, (Attorney at Law/CVM TV News Host, Nicole Burgher).
World Press Freedom Day, which is observed on May 3 annually, was celebrated across the globe under the theme “The Right to Know”. The day represents an opportunity to commemorate the fundamental principles of press freedom and to pay tribute to journalists who have lost their lives while carrying out their duties.
Dictaphone is a division of Boston-based Nuance Communmications, the leading provider of speech and imaging solutions for use around the world. Its products include digital dictation recorders and expresswriter dictators and transcribers and tape recorders.

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