Judge accuses journalists of promoting criminality
MONTEGO BAY, St James — President of the Court of Appeal Justice Seymour Panton has accused some journalists of promoting criminal activities.
"We have a situation where media houses are, in my view, in many instances, encouraging criminality. Why do I say that? They promote individuals who may be suspect in criminal activities at a level which is unbecoming," said Justice Panton.
"They are giving youngsters the impression that if you can get yourself into this category you will be a hero and you will be all over the papers daily," said the judge.
"There are media houses that have it advertised to people in the communities all around the country that when you know news is going to happen to tell them. So what happens? They plan to block the road and the media house is there photographing it, filming it. The question I would like to ask them is did they tell the police 'look there is a problem going to be brewing in such and such a place. The road to Montego Bay airport is going to be blocked'. Do they do that?" he questioned
"I haven't asked the director of public prosecutions about this, but I want to find out if the media house that had on its (television) screen a certain shooting, whether they cooperated with the production of the person who made that film. Did they cooperate? They should say so. If they did not, then they should stand condemned," said the Court of Appeal judge. He did not say which shooting he was referring to.
Justice Panton, who was addressing Thursday night's monthly meeting of the Rotary Club of Montego Bay East at the Sunset Beach Resort, also urged journalists to be accurate in their reports.
He recalled a recent news item which described an individual who was arrested and charged as a former judge. But he was quick to point out that the person was not a judge, but had acted in the position temporarily.
He said: "I heard on the radio that a former judge is to be tried for something. It is not true. The individual was not a judge. When the learned director of public prosecutions went on leave and someone acts for her as director and then ceases to act, is that person director of public prosecutions? It would be appropriate if persons writing news items do so accurately.
"The individual concerned was appointed to act briefly as a resident magistrate, and was reverted, so it is not true to say that this individual was a judge," he explained.