Holness says press freedom safe under Data Protection Bill

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

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KINGSTON, Jamaica -- Prime Minister Andrew Holness last night assured the regional media that his Government will ensure that the investigative rights of the Jamaican media remain protected under the new Data Protection Act.

“I think that a solution can be found and cooperatively we will come up with what makes best for Jamaica,” Holness told last night's opening ceremony for the Caribbean Broadcasting Union's (CBU) 49th Annual General Assembly (AGA) at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel, New Kingston.

The prime minister was responding to concerns raised by both the local and regional media about some aspects of the Bill, which is currently before a joint select committee of Parliament.

Holness told the function that the Government was happy with the performance of the local press, particularly in terms of protecting the public from the dangers of social media.

He said that with social media providing unverified information and changing the public mood in democracies influenced by all sorts of political geo-strategic objectives, the free press has to be made strong enough in terms of ability to ferret out the truth.

“Obviously, as a politician, I do have concerns about the press, but I will never share them. But, I have even greater concerns about the evolving social media,” Holness said.
He assured delegates and guests attending the event that the Government is very happy with the local press using their editorial abilities to correct false information spread via social media.

“So we are very happy with our press in that regard, and I must say that I am very proud as well to read that Jamaica is ranked sixth in the world in terms of freedom of expression. That is something all Jamaicans should be very proud of,” he added.

The AGA's main conference sessions will be held today and the members' plenary tomorrow when assembly ends.

The theme of this year's meeting is Building Resilience to Climate Change: Business, Technology and Content Options for Caribbean Media.

Featured speakers will also include Senator Ruel Reid, Jamaica's Minister Of Education, Youth & Information; Secretary General of the Caribbean Telecommunications Union (CTU), Bernadette Lewis; Professor; Anthony Clayton, Chairman of the Broadcasting Commission of Jamaica; and the head of the International Telecommunications Union's (ITU) Caribbean Office, Cleveland Thomas.


Balford Henry

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