The Jamaican Government has condemned “recent attacks” on members of the media, asserting that the country's reputation of having a long tradition of press freedom may be compromised.
“No politician or Government member should be antagonistic, aggressive, disrespectful or threatening to members of the media,” Information Minister Robert Morgan said during Wednesday morning's post-Cabinet press brief at the Office of the Prime Minister.
Morgan's comment follows a statement made by People's National Party (PNP) General Secretary Dr Dayton Campbell which is believed to be a target of members of the media.
Campbell, while at a PNP constituency conference in St Andrew East Central on Sunday, referred to Nationwide News Network (NNN) as an incubator for the governing Jamaica Labour Party.
He listed several former NNN employees who have left the radio station to take up senior public sector positions.
“We wholeheartedly condemn any attempts to intimidate [or] threaten members of the media to prevent them from doing their work. These threats not only put the lives of Jamaican citizens at risk but [also] have a chilling effect in allowing the media to do their work. We state clearly that our Government believes in the free press and we will do everything in our power to protect press freedom,” said Morgan.
He said that the Government is concerned that these "well-chronicled" incidents may have a negative impact on the country's press freedom ranking.
Morgan said Jamaica has done well over the past decade in “consistently improving” its position.
“We will continue to do that, but we are afraid that these incidents have now caused the international community to look at Jamaica in a different way as a country that may not fully respect the freedom of the press,” said Morgan.