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The Regional Conference on the Media and the Caribbean Justice System, was officially launched today (September 3), by Minister of Justice and Attorney General, Senator Dorothy Lightbourne, at the Hilton Hotel in Kingston.
“I welcome the opportunity to participate in this workshop.because I recognise its value and the importance of educating the public about justice and the law,” Minister Lightbourne emphasised.
The Justice Minister, lauded the organisers of the conference, which is being held under the theme ‘Upgrading Regional Media Capacity to Report on the Region’s Justice System.’
The conference will continue until September 5 and will feature a number of presentations from esteemed members of the legal fraternity, along with media practitioners.
“I embrace every effort to educate our citizens about the law, about their rights, about the constitution and about the workings of the justice system, since I believe that ignorance about the law has been a primary reason for many of our people resorting to violence, as a means of resolving disputes for ensuring justice. We need and we want to change this,” she stated.
“For these reasons,” she said, “I want to thank and commend UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation) for sponsoring these series of workshops, which will help to increase access to information and enhance transparency and accountability in our justice system. I also want to recognise the contribution of Miss Hepburn (Executive Producer TV Court) to this process, who has worked tirelessly to ensure that TV Court reaches the public and achieves its vision and objectives.”
In reference to the theme, Minister Lightbourne explained that the media could assist the public, by explaining complex subjects related to the justice system, which could be intimidating to an ordinary individual.
“The news media can help to simplify the law and the justice system by demystifying legal concepts and jargon through user friendly language, visuals, audio and of course drama, to inform and educate the public,” she pointed out, while noting that this information would promote confidence in the justice system.
“Better knowledge of our laws and procedures will promote confidence in [the system], access to our courts and to dispute resolution processes, because part of our justice system is the concept and procedure of dispute resolution and community tribunals, which will also help to bring confidence to our justice system and help with the resolution of conflicts,” Minister Lightbourne disclosed.
She also noted that the public depends on the news media for accurate reporting of information.
“I welcome this partnership between justice and the media to improve public knowledge, education and awareness of how the justice system works and how it can better serve the public, and so I applaud the presentation of real court cases to dramatise the issues on television and will certainly assist in a greater awareness by the public as to how the law and the court functions,” Senator Lightbourne informed.
The Regional Conference on the Media and the Caribbean Justice System, is sponsored by UNESCO, TV Court and LaBurn Productions, Home Style Juices, and FirstCaribbean International Bank.