On World Press Freedom Day, I salute all our hard-working and diligent journalists, who have been ensuring that the Jamaican people have access to information, which is critical to their functioning in a democracy.

As we observe the specially designated day by UNESCO, which this year has the theme: “Safe to Speak: Securing Freedom of Expression in all Media,” we can feel proud as a country that Jamaica’s record of press freedom continues to be lauded internationally, earning us top rankings in global press freedom surveys.

Certainly, the security of our media practitioners is not under threat here nor would we as a Government and people tolerate any such threat. Nationally, our record of respect for press freedom is both robust and resolute.

The Government recognizes the crucial role played by media in fostering a healthy, participatory democracy and good governance. The UNESCO constitution affirms a commitment to the “free exchange of ideas and information” and the “free flow of ideas by word and image”. The Jamaican Government is firmly committed to these same principles, and on this World Press Freedom Day, we reiterate that absolute commitment.

A free press is a fair press; one that is as vigilant about speaking truth to power as it is about balance and even-handedness, as enshrined in the best traditions of the journalistic profession. Long may we cherish our tradition of press freedom!

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