Prime Minister Andrew Holness has announced that Government will establish a Violence Prevention Commission.
The Commission will be aimed at examining all aspects of violence and ways to address it to ensure lasting solutions in the country.
The Prime Minister made the announcement on Monday, August 13 during his presentation at the 49th Annual General Assembly of the Caribbean Broadcasting Union and Public Media Alliance, in Kingston.
Prime Minister Holness said the media will be a stakeholder in the Commission.
In that regard, Prime Minister Holness pointed out that a national conversation must begin about violence and how it is portrayed.
He said the press must examine itself in how it treats violent content included in news reporting, broadcast, publishing, promotion, projection of material and content.
Prime Minister Holness called on the media to play a major role in the fight against crime and violence.
“The Government is about to launch a Commission on how to treat with this epidemic of violence and the media will be a major stakeholder, on how the media, promotes, projects, produces and publicize content that could in any way support violence”, stated Prime Minister Holness.
Mr Holness added that it is not a discussion for politicians solely to have, it is a national discussion.
“The government recently adopted several measures that have been effectively addressing the crime issue. The real challenge remains and that is the use of violence. Violence is at an epidemic proportion and that is mostly, from my perspective, a social issue, it has cultural roots. But the only way to only way to effectively deal with that is through our media”, stated Prime Minister Holness.
He said with a free press and access to information come great responsibilities.
Prime Minister Holness urged media practitioners to create a balance in the publication of content with violent overtones.
“Content with violent overtones can’t be left without editorial note to say this is not good for our society, or this is not the behaviour that we promote. Yes, you are a free press; and yes, you can put out whatever content you chose to but there is always the concern for the public good. What do you stand for as media; what are the standards that you maintain in your media house? And there is nothing wrong with you putting out, promoting or projecting the high standards that you maintain so that the public has balance and has enough information to place what they are with bombarded with every day in context”, said Mr Holness.
The Prime Minister affirmed that the Government has to increase its footprint and presence in ensuring that there are positive messages.