PAJ monitoring implementation of court's media protocol


PAJ monitoring implementation of court's media protocol

Senior staff reporter

Friday, October 30, 2020

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PRESS Association of Jamaica (PAJ) President George Davis says close attention will be paid to the treatment of media workers by the court in light of its establishment of a protocol which, among other things, now permits the electronic recording of proceedings for greater accuracy.

The media protocol, outlined in a 20-page document, was launched at the Supreme Court in Kingston yesterday.

“The structure that this is giving to how media personnel can engage with the court, and are expected to engage with the court, has never existed before. I welcome this structure. As it goes along we will, of course, be keeping close tabs on how our members say the interaction has actually gone relative to what is written on paper.

“Where there are gaps and where there are problems, we'll ask the chief justice, through his office, of course, to correct the deficiencies. As it stands now, what is written on paper, I welcome it and I don't see any problem with it,” the PAJ boss told the Jamaica Observer.

Acting director of the Court Administration Division Tricia Cameron-Anglin has indicated that the launch of the media protocol forms part of the judiciary's commitment to the principle of open justice while building public trust and confidence in it.

Cameron-Anglin added that the protocol is expected to act as a guide for the coverage of court matters.

“Significantly, the media will now be permitted to record court proceedings for the verification of their notes, but not for broadcast,” she noted.

Davis said the condition is an acceptable one, given that there are cases which will be live-streamed.

He pointed to section 24 of the protocol which states that “the court will make efforts to live-stream proceedings, in so far as is considered necessary in the public interest, through its social media pages”.

It said public speeches by the chief justice and the president of the Court of Appeal, Court of Appeal hearings, and the openings of Circuit will also be broadcast, where possible.

“What this protocol proposes to do is better than what was there before, because you could not record at all. You can continue to take notes, but now record [as well]. So you have something to cross-reference against what you heard,” Davis said.

The protocol also establishes the office of the media liaison officer, who is expected to facilitate communication between the courts and members of the media.

Media managers are advised to register with the media liaison officer, journalists who will be assigned to cover court proceedings regularly, as they will now have a designated space in the courtroom.

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