JIS News

Information Minister, Senator Burchell Whiteman is urging parents to monitor the programmes their children are viewing, in order to limit their exposure to potentially harmful material on cable television.
“Until we as individual adults keep a closer tab on our children, we will not reap the desired results from them,” Senator Whiteman warned.
The Minister stressed that parents should love, nurture and guide their children, lamenting that many took that job too lightly.
He cited the State’s role in the process of monitoring and setting standards, via the Broadcasting Commission, and added that parents must share the responsibility in deciding what programmes were suitable for their children.
Speaking at an Access to Information/Values and Attitudes forum at Shortwood Teachers’ College yesterday (January 28), the Minister was responding to a participant’s concern about the ease with which children are able to gain access to inappropriate material on television.
Senator Whiteman and his team from the Values and Attitudes Secretariat and the Access to Information (ATI) Unit, have been conducting forums at tertiary institutions across the island since last year, in an effort to sensitise the younger generation about the benefits of the Access to Information Act and to promote a change in mindset.
The Values and Attitudes programme involves the teaching and reinforcing of wholesome behaviour in Jamaicans and the encouragement of positive thinking among young people. At the core of the programme is respect for self and others, as well as the need for honesty, integrity, discipline, responsibility and national pride.
The Access to Information Act 2002, which grants the public access to most documents held by government departments and agencies, became effective on January 5 this year. The implementation process however, has started with seven entities, with full implementation in all other ministries and agencies expected by 2005.
These entities, which formed Phase 1 of the implementation process are: the Office of the Prime Minister, the Cabinet Office, Ministry of Finance and Planning, Ministry of Local Government, Community Development and Sport, Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ), the Jamaica Information Service (JIS) and the National Works Agency (NWA).
The Act aims to reinforce fundamental democratic principles vital to transparency, accountability and public participation in government. This means that the public can now seek to be further informed on matters pertaining to government contracts, the environment, public health and the administration of public funds.
Access to Information (ATI) or freedom of information legislation, as it is called in some jurisdictions, has existed since 1776 and is in force in more than 47 countries, including the United States, Australia, Canada, South Africa, Japan, Trinidad and Tobago and Belize.

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