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Johnson Smith bats for journalists, media workers at UK conference

Thursday, July 11, 2019

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Minister, Senator Kamina Johnson Smith says she will intensify efforts to promote and strengthen media freedom across Commonwealth countries at the Global Conference for Media Freedom now underway in London, United Kingdom (UK).

The conference began yesterday and will end today.

Johnson Smith, in a news release, said herself and ministerial colleagues from the Commonwealth are attending the global Media Freedom Forum, initiated by the Foreign Ministers of the UK and Canada, to campaign for the protection of journalists and media workers.

“It aims to shine a spotlight on media freedom everywhere, increasing the costs to those violating it and improve the safety of journalists and media workers and their ability to work without interference,” she said.

The campaign has taken the form of an interactive panel discussion and short plenary sessions and also coincides with the 70th Anniversary of the modern Commonwealth.

On day one of the conference, delegates considered global challenges to media freedom. Today, discussions are expected to surround the potential solutions.

In commending the initiative of the UK and Canada, and recalling that Jamaica ranks 8th on the global media freedom index, Johnson Smith noted that “press freedom is an essential component of economic prosperity, social development and resilient democracies”.

She added: “It is a right to which all governments have committed, as enshrined in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media regardless of frontiers.”

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