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VIDEO: PM knocks media ‘trap’

Says overseas journalists treat her better than local

Friday, January 31, 2014    

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"THEY say I don't talk to the media. If you approach me properly, I'll talk to you. But if you are going to be pushing up the microphone in my face, or if everybody is shouting at me at the same time, no."

This was the response of Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller to criticisms that she doesn't speak enough to the local media.

"...I've never seen it like this. For example, look at President Barack Obama. They (his handlers) will indicate they are taking two questions. When he answers the two questions, they'll say 'okay, thank you'. He turns and he walks away. You don't see anybody running after him and pushing the microphone in his face," the prime minister said in an interview with the Jamaica Observer, the full report of which will be published on February 5, 2014.

Simpson Miller cited another example of how the overseas media treat her with respect compared with how some Jamaican media personnel approach her, taking care to stress that not all local journalists were guilty.

She recalled being at the Penn Relays in the United States sometime ago when she agreed to be interviewed by either the US network ABC or NBC. The request was made an hour before the interview. During that time she was briefed about the procedures.

She said that 30 minutes later, the network producer came back to remind her. The producer returned 20 minutes later, then 10 minutes, then at the appointed hour. The television crew informed her that as the broadcast was live she had to stick to the time allotted to avoid being cut off mid-sentence. Everything went well and she noted that they were anxious to ensure that she was comfortable and at ease with their operations.

"They treat you well. They make you feel comfortable. But then our Jamaican — some in the media, not all — their approach all the while is how can I trap this one. Media is not to be about trapping somebody... It must be for honesty where you are going to say something which will be of benefit to the country rather than to simply draw you out.

"I don't know if that makes one popular, but I'm not like that," the prime minister said.

See next Wednesday, February 5 Observer for the full report of Prime Minister Simpson Miller's interview with Executive Editor — Special Assignment Desmond Allen.

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