It’s World Press Freedom Day! And while we in Jamaica have much for which to be thankful, we are aware that the situation in many countries is very different. To observe the Day, Jamaican and colleague Caribbean journalists today walked from the site of the now-defunct Jamaica Broadcasting Corporation to Emancipation Park, where a Declaration was read that will be sent to governments of the region.
Alison Bethel McKenzie, Executive Director of the International Press Institute addressed the gathering in Emancipation Park.
“The media here is vibrant, thriving, diverse,” she said. “We are advocating for an end to criminal defamation laws in the entire region, for Access to Information laws that actually work, for journalists to be paid a living wage so they can do their jobs to the fullest.”
Journalists also displayed posters which served as timely reminders of journalists killed over the years. IPI maintains a “Death Watch” on its website which shows that 26 journalists have so far been killed this year across the world., and that 120 were killed last year. IPI says it includes “ journalists and media staff who were deliberately targeted because of their profession – either because of their reporting or simply because they were journalists. IPI also includes journalists who were killed while on assignment.”