The Judiciary of Jamaica has established and launched its media protocol to guide effective communication between the courts and the press.
It covers multiple areas, including how reporters operate inside and outside the courtroom, how to address judges, how the media should treat with children and social media as well as dress codes and retractions.
Speaking at the recent Conversation with the Judiciary at the Supreme Court, Acting Director of the Court Administration Division (CAD), Tricia Cameron Anglin, said the protocol will also guide how Court officials interact with the press.
“Subsequent to today, there should be no ambiguity on how and who to contact to get official information from our courts. This also forms part of how the judiciary is changing its engagement with the public. One of our pillars from the strategic plan speaks to our services being accessible, and this is our expressed commitment to that. We live in a changing world and the judiciary is committed to adapting to the changing times,” Mrs. Anglin said.
President of the Court of Appeal, Hon. Justice Dennis Morrison, welcomed the move by the CAD.
“The traditional approach is that judges speak through their judgements and not at all else, but I think judicial leadership now accepts that there is a necessity for us to at least bring to the attention of the public some of the important features of what it is we are trying to do and why we do some of the things we do,” Justice Morrison said.
Meanwhile, Chief Justice, Brian Sykes, reiterated the value of the established protocol.
“The media protocol is very important because for the first time we have a document that will set the terms of engagement. It is not cast in stone; it will be revised in the light of experience, so we would invite members of the media to communicate with us and let us know how well it is working in practice, because we can always put down something on paper but the test is when it is out and about and being applied generally,” he said.
“This was developed not just by judges internally, but also by consultations with the media, so it was a consultative process,” Justice Sykes added.
The protocol is accessible on the Court Administration Division website cad.gov.jm.