Political ombudsman says new website will encourage public engagement

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

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THE Office of the Political Ombudsman says last week's launch of its website will offer various features to encourage greater public engagement with the office.

The website, created by The Jamaica Information Service (JIS), adds to the entity's already existing online presence on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Visitors to www.opo.gov.jm will be able to get news, notices and alerts; information about political code of conduct signings, elections; and pieces of legislation.

“Users will also be able to upload videos and participate in meaningful discussions on important topics,” Political Ombudsman Donna Parchment Brown told JIS News.

She said the website will serve to “provide visitors with an easier way to interact with the office and provide information, which is easily accessible”, noting that individuals will be able to register a complaint anonymously.

Parchment Brown noted that the website addresses issues such as defamation, which is becoming more prevalent in the digital space… vilification of opponents, fake news, and a general deterioration in public discourse.

“Our democracy will benefit from your interaction with this site,” she noted.

Assistant executive director at the Broadcasting Commission of Jamaica, Karlene Salmon, who addressed the website launch, commended Parchment Brown on undertaking the initiative.

She noted that the website will boost communication and engagement, which will help to further good governance.

“Communication and information are the blood and oxygen of a vibrant democracy,” she said.

The Office of the Political Ombudsman, which was established under an Act of Parliament in 2002, has statutory responsibility to oversee and investigate adherence to Jamaica's Code of Political Conduct.

The office conducts investigations into allegations of political breaches, and hosts regular discourse on matters such as political campaigning, de-garrisonisation, women's participation in politics, good governance, among others.

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