JIS News

Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Paula Llewellyn, has appealed to media practitioners and reporters to always seek to highlight the facts, without being sensational.
Miss Llewellyn, who was addressing the recent installation ceremony of the Rotary Club of Christiana, in Manchester, noted that elements of transparency and integrity must not only be exhibited by public servants, but also by media personnel.
“The media need to ensure that when reporting is done, the information provided will be disseminated to the public with utmost integrity and accuracy, utilising the highest professional standards,” the DPP said.
“Journalists and the media need to be responsible, as they serve the public’s interest by being ‘watchdogs’ of officials, members of law enforcement and civil servants who wield political and economic power in society. We, in turn, should be careful of swallowing too much sensationalism, reading the headlines and forgetting to read the main body of the story, which sometimes is a stranger to the headline. We must not abandon critical thinking when we are absorbing information from the media,” she added.
The DPP pointed out that the country has a liberal democratic political arrangement, which encourages free speech, and the very important role of informing and educating the public is supported by the freedom of expression provided by the Constitution.
She said that when a good name is stained through the distribution of inaccuracies or misinformation, wittingly or unwittingly, by the media, even after remedial action or an apology is made, it cannot remove the stain.
“Persons who act in the public’s interest and have the privilege of easy access to the media, should be guided by the highest level of professionalism, so as to act in the public’s interest. With these points of guidance in mind, they should ensure that they speak factually, responsibly and fairly. If in doubt about the veracity, one would hope that loose talk, innuendo and speculation should not be allowed to pass as facts, without it being made apparent that this may be someone’s opinion,” she argued.
The DPP emphasised that freedom of the press is not a license to destroy other people’s reputation, and called on players in the media to ensure that Jamaica’s young democracy and constitutional rights guaranteed to its citizens be protected, where different groups work in the best interest of the public.
“The use of innuendoes and loose words to malign fellow professionals who are doing their duty with integrity is unacceptable. For example, as DPP, if I were to make a ruling that a police officer be charged for a criminal offence without material on the file to support this charge, such decision would be a betrayal of my office and the public trust. I will always welcome criticism, but I would hope that an effort be made by the critic to be informed or to seek clarity in respect of any ruling that I have made, before running with an uninformed opinion to the media and the public,” she said.

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