Media Urged to Play a Greater Role in Efforts to Reduce Violence


Social Scientist, Nadyia Figueroa, has called on the media to play a more vital role in efforts to reduce violence in the society.
She was addressing a forum organized by the Violence Prevention Alliance under the theme: ‘Violence and its impact on our Children – The influence of the media,’ which was held on (Jan. 3) at the Knutsford Court hotel in Kingston.
According to Miss Figueroa, while the government continues to institute numerous measures to curb the increasing incidences of crime and violence, these are not enough.
“When we take a holistic view of the problem, we realize that punitive measures alone such as the instatement of harsher punishment, metal detectors in public schools, and the increased efforts at policing.these alone will not deliver us the desired results,” she opined.
The media, she said, can play its part by conveying in its news coverage, the level of urgency that is needed to address the problem. “Within the media, a clearer message needs to be carried that encompasses prevention, rehabilitation and restoration. We must move beyond crime punishment to violence prevention, individual rehabilitation where possible, and community and national restoration,” she stated.
Miss Figueroa suggested further that the media should depict positive role models in news stories and programmes, which the youth can emulate. “There are stellar individuals, organisations, community organisations and leaders across both the private and public sectors that are fighting to make a positive difference. When we highlight these stories, we raise the spirits of Jamaicans at home and abroad,” she pointed out.
“We must also glorify good responsible parenthood, positive role modeling and mentoring. Guidance and education must be positioned as the collective responsibility of the entire nation. The uneducated, the unguided and most significantly, the unloved youths, fall prey to criminal elements and we all pay the price,” she added further.
Turning to the role of the wider society in the process, Miss Figueroa called on Jamaicans to “motivate political leaders to garner the political will that is necessary to address this problem”.
Additionally, she noted that the society must build strong communities in order to create a sense of belonging among the youth, thus limiting their potential to commit violent crimes. “Our most brutal acts of violence are committed by roaming criminals, who are not physically entrenched within a community and have less of a sense of familiar belonging or moral responsibility,” she pointed out.
“Strong communities provide an aspect of self-policing and self-justice, which an external system such as a judiciary system of the state often finds hard to achieve. Community development must be championed,” she argued.
In the meantime, Head of the Child and Adolescent Health Services at the Ministry of Health, Dr. Judith Leiba, noted that children, who are exposed to violence, often display development disorders, crying spells, withdrawal symptoms, poor academic performance, restlessness and temper tantrums.

JIS Social