Letters to the Editor

'Untruthful, inaccurate, unfair and misleading'

Monday, December 17, 2018

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Dear Editor,

We write to make a formal complaint in relation to the following cartoon published in the Jamaica Observer on Friday, December 14, 2018.

We strongly believe that this cartoon violates the basic tenets of journalism of truth and accuracy, and fairness and impartiality. It also violates the Code of Practice for Jamaican Journalists and Media Organisations (Code of Practice), specifically section 1 (a) which states: “Newspapers, periodicals, radio and television stations shall take due care not to publish or broadcast untrue, inaccurate, misleading or distorted material or information.”

The newspaper image with a headline 'Opposition Votes Against SOE' juxtaposed against the images of gunmen uttering the words “Our time next month” is clearly a suggestion by the cartoonist that the Opposition's vote in the Parliament against the extension of the states of emergency (SOE) is intended to or will encourage and facilitate gunmen to ply their trade. No such evidence exists.

The Opposition, through its leader, clearly stated in Parliament, and you reported, that the security measures that currently obtain under the SOE can continue, but without infringing on the constitutional rights of citizens, as the SOE now does. In such circumstances, one must conclude that the cartoonist, in his portrayal of the effect or intent of the Opposition's vote, is deliberately being untruthful, inaccurate, unfair and misleading, and has distorted the intent and effect of the Opposition's vote. The Code of Practice includes the following declarations:

1. Editors, journalists, publishers, and broadcasters pledge to prevent violations of these standards.

2. Editors, journalists, publishers and broadcasters will ensure that the code is observed rigorously by all their contributors. The referenced standards and codes include the following: “Whenever it is recognised that an inaccuracy, misleading statement or distorted report has been disseminated, it should be corrected promptly and with due prominence.”

We believe that the Jamaica Observer subscribes to the declarations mentioned above and, if that is correct, we invite you to promptly and with due prominence correct the inaccurate, unfair, misleading, and distorted portrayal in the cartoon.

Julian Robinson

General secretary

People's National Party


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Today's Cartoon

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