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News and Views by Dionne Jackson Miller

pointed commentary on current affairs in Jamaica and the Caribbean

Month

January 2015

What Miss Jamaica Missed

great writing as always……

Under the Saltire Flag

KaciFen2

And so it happened, the extraordinarily beautiful and humble Kaci Fennell, Jamaica’s contestant in Donald Trump’s intergalactic pageant, was not, in the end, crowned Miss Universe. She came fifth. The crowd in Miami booed. To tell the truth, they went ape-shit! ‘Ms Jamaica’ trended across America’s twittosphere for hours – and at #1 at that – oh the irony! At home, Jamaicans cried ‘racism’; they cried ‘block de road!’; they cried, ‘give me one of those Bain placards we not using anymore, cross out de name ‘Bain’, and put ‘Kaci’ instead! We want Justice!’  It was high drama. Even the other contestants flocked around the Caribbean beauty, commiserating her 5th place, instead of flocking around the unpopular winner, Ms Colombia, to offer due congratulations.

KaciFen1

My own misgivings about beauty pageants have been made public before. They remain the same. Pageants help to establish very dangerous standards of beauty for…

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The Free Speech Debate & Charlie Hebdo

I’m blogging today at http://www.rjrnewsonline.com. Check out my latest post!

Photo by David Monniaux on Wikipedia
2006 protest march in Paris against Charlie Hebdo Photo by David Monniaux on Wikipedia

 

One of the cartoons published by the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo portrayed France’s black Justice Minister Christiane Taubira as a monkey. Would you regard that as racist?

Was it their right to publish that and other cartoons denounced by some Muslims as blasphemous of the prophet Mohammed? Should freedom of expression protect offensive speech? To a great extent, I believe the answer is yes. And yet, the debate over freedom of expression is a difficult, complicated and nuanced one. Just because you can say something doesn’t mean you should. And what if what appears to be an offensive statement is simply being misunderstood? Read more here.

Shocking Attack on Press Freedom in France

Image by Simon Howden at www.freedigitalphotos.net
Image by Simon Howden at http://www.freedigitalphotos.net

Today’s attack on the French magazine Charlie Hebdo in which gunmen murdered 12 people, including eight journalists, four of them cartoonists, has led to outrage all across the world. Reports are now coming in of vigils being held in several cities including London, the hashtag #JeSuisCharlie is trending worldwide, and messages of condemnation continue to pour in from journalists, world leaders and the public.

Among the most poignant memorials have been those crafted by cartoonists, including one cartoon depicting a gunman standing over his murdered victim saying “He drew first.”

There is little to add, except to salute our brave colleagues, led by editor and cartoonist Stephene Charbonnier (Charb) who is quoted as saying “I would rather die standing than live on my knees.”

The courage of the Charlie Hebdo journalists cannot be overstated, and we condemn their murderers and this despicable attack by those who would seek to silent independent and critical voices.

Below is a statement made by the Press Association of Jamaica.

January 7, 2015

 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 The Press Association of Jamaica wishes to extend its deepest sympathies to the people and government of France, on the occasion of today’s shocking attack on the staff of the French magazine Charlie Hebdo.

 The reports at this time indicate that 12 people have been killed including members of the press and two policemen, and several others wounded by gunmen who invaded the offices at the magazine earlier today. We deeply deplore the loss of life and the injuries suffered by all the victims.

 The PAJ regards this as an attack upon democracy and freedom of the press, which must be of concern to all who support these important values anywhere in the world.

 We stand with our colleagues in France as we condemn this violent attack and reiterate the importance of guarding democracy and protecting the press from intimidation.

                                                                    -30-

 Disclosure: I am the President of the PAJ. 

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