Information Minister Reaffirms Gov’t Commitment to Press Freedom

Photo: Michael Sloley Education, Youth and Information Minister, Senator the Hon. Ruel Reid (centre), converses with Caribbean Broadcasting Union (CBU) President, Gary Allen, prior to the start of proceedings on the second day of the CBU’s 49th Annual General Assembly at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel, on Tuesday (August 14). Senator Reid was the keynote speaker. The three-day meeting is being held from August 13 to 15 under the theme: ‘Building Resilience to Climate Change: Business, Technology and Content Options for Caribbean Media’. At right is Deputy Director and Special Advisor, Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre, Dr. Ulric Trotz.

Story Highlights

  • Education, Youth and Information Minister, Senator the Hon. Ruel Reid, has reaffirmed the Government’s “unwavering” commitment to press freedom and the expression of free speech.
  • He notes that while a significant percentage of Jamaica’s media, particularly cable, radio and free-to-air television, operate in an environment overseen by a politically independent regulator, the latitude afforded these entities has enabled them to function and operate with “unfettered editorial freedoms.”
  • The Minister was speaking at the Caribbean Broadcasting Union’s (CBU) 49th Annual General Assembly, held at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel, New Kingston, on Tuesday (August 14).

Education, Youth and Information Minister, Senator the Hon. Ruel Reid, has reaffirmed the Government’s “unwavering” commitment to press freedom and the expression of free speech.

He notes that while a significant percentage of Jamaica’s media, particularly cable, radio and free-to-air television, operate in an environment overseen by a politically independent regulator, the latitude afforded these entities has enabled them to function and operate with “unfettered editorial freedoms.”

The Minister was speaking at the Caribbean Broadcasting Union’s (CBU) 49th Annual General Assembly, held at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel, New Kingston, on Tuesday (August 14).

“In this environment, talk shows, news and current affairs flourish without fear of any partial, biased or political fetter,” Senator Reid pointed out.

He said consequent on this, Jamaica has been ranked sixth out of 180 countries in 2018 on the World Press Freedom Index by France-based global media watchdog, Reporters without Borders.
The ranking represents an improvement on Jamaica’s 2017 ranking by two places.

Senator Reid argued that where ideas contend and are exchanged, “democracies are stronger.”

Additionally, he said when the media is unfettered, Governments and other institutions are “held to account to the people… they serve.”

This scenario, the Minister contended, provides a “platform for the voiceless,” adding that “it is then that justice can prevail, the truth shines for all to see (and the resulting) information feeds knowledge, innovation and development.”

Senator Reid, however, emphasised the importance and need for media practitioners to exercise responsibility commensurate with the rights and freedoms they enjoy.

“Attention needs to be paid to maintaining high standards with respect to accuracy and fair play, to preserve the credibility upon which the profession depends,” he said.

The 49th CBU 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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