Monday 24 February, 2020

Local media urged to remain vigilant for threats to press freedom

Dionne Jackson Miller

Dionne Jackson Miller

With Thursday, May 3 being observed as World Press Freedom Day, the Press Association of Jamaica (PAJ) is reminding that now is not the time to “bask in the glow of Jamaica’s continued good press freedom showing.”

PAJ President, Dionne Jackson Miller was referring to Jamaica’s sixth place ranking on the 2018 World Press Freedom Index.

 “We have to remain vigilant for local threats to press freedom, and continue to lend our voices to calls for the global community to promote avenues to protect the safety of journalists,” she said.

She warned that “the new challenges being thrown up by the spread of social media and its misuse, for example, to spread “fake news” have led to governments like Malaysia enacting repressive laws inimical to freedom of expression.”

For his part, Christophe Deloire, secretary general of Reporters Without Borders said in a statement that “content that is produced in a rigorous and honest manner is increasingly being subjected to unfair competition from sponsored content, propaganda and rumour.”

“As surveys have shown, fake news circulates more easily than trustworthy news because of a cognitive bias in human beings. We cannot remain passive in the face of this threat to the honesty of the public debate and, by extension, to democracy," he said.

World Press Freedom Day 2018 is being observed under the theme “Keeping Power in Check, Media, Justice and the Rule of Law.”

It encapsulates the critical role media plays, but also highlights the increasing obstacles media workers face in doing their jobs.

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