PAJ AGM RESOLUTION ON MILTON SAMUDA
The following Resolution was passed at the 70th Annual General Meeting of the Press Association of Jamaica on Sunday, August 25, 2013. The motion was initiated by a member from the floor and was carried after a vote was taken.
Resolution Statement calling for the resignation of Milton Samuda as chairman of the board of Television Jamaica (TVJ):
Whereas a team of the Press Association of Jamaica (PAJ) led by Advisory Council chairman Wyvolyn Gager met with Mr Milton Samuda – board member of The RJR Communications Group and chairman of Television Jamaica (TVJ)
– and his lawyers at the PAJ Headquarters in St Andrew to discuss outstanding matters concerning the erasing of journalists tapes; and,
Whereas, Mr Samuda was afforded the opportunity to hold such discussions following controversy after allegations that he took possession of and erased portions of journalists’ interviews with his clients – athletes Asafa Powell and Sherone Simpson, who have tested positive for using banned substances; and,
Whereas, despite the fact that frank and robust discussions between the teams took place with less than satisfactory outcome, and it was revealed that;
(A) Questions to be asked were requested of the journalists;
(B)Questions were re-worded and sent to journalists;
(C) Journalists working equipment were later taken when unapproved questions were asked;
Whereas Mr Samuda has not apologised, and continues to insist that nothing was wrong with his actions;
This resolution calls for the resignation of Milton Samuda as chairman of the board of Television Jamaica (TVJ) given that his continued position on the board can only serve to compromise the position of journalists from that Group and question his commitment to press freedom specifically and generally, and;
Be it further resolved that, journalists, in the future desist from agreeing to pre-conditions with any individual without discussing same with their respective heads of news, as unilateral pre-conditions set troubling and dangerous precedents in media organisations, and compromise the delivery of unrestricted and journalistically verified information to the people of Jamaica.
Annual General Meeting of the Press Association of Jamaica: August 2013
Disclosure: I am a member of the PAJ. I abstained from this vote as I also work at TVJ and I was involved in internal discussions on this issue.