Gov’t to Launch Commission to Find Solutions to Violence

Photo: Michael Sloley Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness (left), greets Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Public Media Alliance (PMA), Dr. Sally-Ann Wilson (second right), when he arrived at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston on Monday (Aug. 13) to attend the opening ceremony for the 49th Annual General Assembly of the Caribbean Broadcasting Union (CBU). President of the CBU, Gary Allen (left), makes the introduction. Looking on are President, PMA, Paul Thompson (centre); and Vice President, CBU, Amalia Mai.

Story Highlights

  • Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, says the Government will be launching a commission shortly to examine and find solutions to violence in Jamaica.
  • He said that the media will be a major stakeholder in the process.
  • “It is not a discussion for politicians solely to have; it is a national discussion. When I announce this commission, I am certain that we will be inviting members of the press association and the media association to participate to help us to come to a solution to this issue of violence,” he said.

Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, says the Government will be launching a commission shortly to examine and find solutions to violence in Jamaica.

He said that the media will be a major stakeholder in the process.

“It is not a discussion for politicians solely to have; it is a national discussion. When I announce this commission, I am certain that we will be inviting members of the press association and the media association to participate to help us to come to a solution to this issue of violence,” he said.

The Prime Minister was addressing the opening ceremony for the 49th Annual General Assembly of the Caribbean Broadcasting Union (CBU) at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston on Monday (Aug. 13).

He implored the Jamaican media to be responsible in how it promotes, projects, produces and publicises content that could in any way support violence.

He stressed that the Government “has to increase its footprint and presence in ensuring that there are positive messages in a free media” as an effective way of dealing with violence.

“There has to be a kind of sit-down now to figure out how it is that we are going to get our positive messages out there, whilst ensuring that your media houses and your publishing houses remain viable,” he said.

At the same time, the Prime Minister said the Government is committed to doing its part to ensure freedom of press, noting that he is pleased that Jamaica ranks sixth in the world in terms of press freedom.

He pointed to the passage of significant legislation in this regard, citing reform of the Defamation Act, and access to information and whistle-blower laws, while the Data Protection Act is now being discussed in Parliament.

Mr. Holness said “we need the free press more than ever,” particularly in the age of social media which, he noted, is rife with “fake news and alternative facts.”

He lamented that technology is enabling persons to create fake identities “and rapidly spread false information to unsuspecting consumers. There is no filter, there is no fact check, there is no editor, there is no consideration of the public good.”

“The best protection from the dangers of social media is to have a free press that is strong in ferreting out the truth. I depend on our press to ensure that whatever false information is spread in social media, that they, in some point in time, will use their editorial abilities, their research abilities to correct false narrative that is spread in social media,” Mr. Holness said.

The CBU’s General Assembly is being held from August 13 to 15, under the theme: “Building Resilience to Climate Change: Business, Technology and Content Options for Caribbean Media”.

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