November 28- Dec. 4
MESSAGE FROM THE HONOURABLE PRIME MINISTER
PRESS ASSOCIATION OF JAMAICA
NATIONAL JOURNALISM WEEK 2010
National Journalism Week 2010 takes on greater importance and resonance than in recent years, as the fraternity has been confronted with mounting criticisms. This commemorative week will present an opportunity for the Press Association of Jamaica (PAJ), to not only rightfully celebrate its achievements, but to also reflect on its journey on the 'road' of democracy - assessing how far it has come and how much farther it has to go.
The PAJ for over sixty-five (65) years has been a purveyor of our country's democracy, consistently placing in the public domain, information with a high degree of credibility. This is crucial, especially in a dynamic environment, with competing forces and intents; and where fiction can oftentimes be skewed to resemble facts.
Our nation's journalists face a difficult task in the pursuance of their mandate, as they are vulnerable to massive lawsuits and libel charges. The Government has given its commitment to reviewing the outdated libel laws and has taken steps in that direction. We must recognize that while the truth must be ferreted out from those 'dark corners' and brought into the light; we should also be mindful that a balance must be reached between probity, accuracy and sensitivity and that the lawful rights and reputations of our people are not breached, but protected and remain in tact.
Jamaica boasts some of the best media practitioners who have brought the profession to a place of wide acclaim; and I would like to add my own commendations to these sterling professionals.
I wish for your organization every success in its planned activities for this important week.
Honourable Prime Minister
Message from PAJ President Jenni Campbell
We recognize the role of the press in Jamaica as critical to the very existence of our democracy. In fact, at the heart of what we do is how we interface with the public and provide our wider society with access to the national dialogue.
We ask questions of public officials on behalf of our people, we provide public information that leads to important personal choices.
In doing so, we bear a heavy burden of truth and accuracy. We must seek to get it right the first time. We know that often, words once spoken can hardly be retrieved and a good reputation is hard to come by.
We also know that being the eyes and ears of the public, we see and hear more than the average Jamaican.
We have seen the depth of poverty that many of our country men and women face daily. We have seen suffering, we have seen corruption. Equally, we have seen triumph and glory.
As passionate storytellers who stand in the gap, we are not immune to the true meaning of all that we see. We may claim that we are mere conduits, but we too, are often moved by the happenings about which we report daily.
As we face the job moving forward, I urge our fraternity to look within, seek out ways in which we can stand together to make positive changes in our society.
Earlier this year, we saw the RJR Group embark on a project to help our earthquake devastated neighbours in Haiti, we saw The Gleaner leading a campaign through its pages against crime and violence. As a body, the PAJ will lead national campaigns towards the restoration of respect for all and a return to the rule of law and order. We ask our membership to support these campaigns through public service announcements, blurbs and special projects, so that the message becomes a mantra to all of us.
If it is that we intend to live in Jamaica land we love, we must agree that things must be done differently, and as we stand in the gap - peddling truth, rights and integrity, we must be prepared to lead from our sphere of influence.
Sent from my BlackBerry® device from Digicel