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JIS News

The Public Broadcasting Corporation of Jamaica (PBCJ) will shortly develop a five- minute programme on missing persons in Jamaica as a means of educating the public about abductions.
“On the PBCJ we currently have a show on missing persons called ‘Missing’ which is approximately 15 to 20 minutes long. What we plan to do is cut it down to about five minutes so that this way we can get a little more exposure from it. We will of course be distributing this to all the other TV stations, print media and whoever else that would have the opportunity to use it. Once we get the programme out there people will put faces to the names,” Chief Executive Officer of the PBCJ, Leighton Thomas, informed JIS News.
“We are looking to put that together within the next ten days. We believe that there is such urgency with what is happening in the country,” he adds while emphasizing that the PBCJ is in no way seeking to create panic among Jamaicans about the state of abductions in the country.
“I heard it in the news up today that the police were saying that the media are creating a frenzy and making it seem as if a lot more people are going missing when it might not actually be so when you look at the actual statistics but in my mind, one person going missing is one too many and so we are rushing to get this programme out there so we can educate the people,” he asserted.
It was this same desire to educate the public that was the genesis of the 15 to 20 minute version of ‘Missing’.
“We looked around and we didn’t see much television or advertising as to people that go missing and when I heard the statistics of over 700 people so far this year that have gone missing, I mean thankfully over 500 have been found or either came back home or whatever the case may have been but still there are about 200 people that are out there and that is just from this year alone. So it became obvious that we needed to do something and put actual faces to what’s going on in our country,” the CEO noted.
Mr. Thomas is also urging the mainstream media to develop and broadcast similar programmes on missing persons as part of their contribution to the fight against abductions.
“I encourage everyone to get involved. If nobody is taking care of our own who else is going to.we are fortunate that we are a small island and with that, the mainstream media does cover a large part of the island. We are cable-based so most people who don’t have cable wouldn’t be able to see the PBCJ but mainstream media, the TVJs, the CVMs, Love TVs and even all the other little cable operators out there should develop programmes like this because we have to care for ourselves and fellow Jamaicans,” he appealed.
A new episode of ‘Missing’ is aired each Tuesday at 9:00 am with rebroadcasts on Fridays at 8:30 pm and Sundays at 9:00 am. According to Mr. Thomas the programme has been well received by the public.
“I must admit that it has gotten such an overwhelming response that we do repeat it even more frequently than that,” he said.
In terms of the content and programming for ‘Missing’ Mr. Thomas said “we show photographs and video as a lot of people have videos these days, even cell phone videos are useful as the quality has gotten much better, but if there is anything that the family has whether it be photographs, videos and sometimes even in rare cases we do use audio only. We do talk to the families, friends (and) whoever it is that’s reporting the person missing of course after we establish that it is an existing case, and it is with the police”, he informed.
Persons who might have someone missing and would like to have this information aired on ‘Missing’ may contact the PBCJ once a report has been filed with the police.
“Currently we are working with the Ministry of Information, Culture, Youth and Sports, among other Ministries as well as the Office of the Prime Minister in developing a national programme as to how we handle missing people but in the interim, while all of that is being worked out, usually how it works is that you come to us at the PBCJ – we are located at 5-9 South Odeon Avenue in Kingston or you can call us at 754 – PBCJ and give us the information”.
For the future, the PBCJ will be developing a number of other programmes as part of a larger public education campaign.
“We are coming up with some shows that will give you tips for when you go to the ATM, or when you are going home, to trim your bushes, or to change your lights all of that kind of stuff,” he revealed.