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The Press Association of Jamaica joins the world in observing World Press Freedom Day 2016 on May 3, and calls on the Jamaican government to give urgent attention to making long-awaited amendments to the Access to Information Act, and repealing the Official Secrets Act.
The PAJ’s call is very much in keeping with this year’s theme, which is “Access to Information and Fundamental Freedoms – This is Your Right!”
The thrust of this year’s theme is of particular relevance to us here in the Caribbean, as we continue to push for more transparency and access to information from those in authority, says PAJ President Dionne Jackson Miller.
The relevance of the theme can be seen in reference to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, and in particular Goal 16 which is “dedicated to the promotion of peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, the provision of access to justice for all, and building effective, accountable institutions at all levels.”
One of the targets of Goal 16 is ensuring public access to information and protecting fundamental freedoms, in accordance with national legislation and international agreements.
It is in this context that the PAJ is again highlighting the long-overdue amendments to the Access to Information Act, and the need to repeal the Official Secrets Act, an incongruous and anachronistic law which is out of step with the modern emphasis on transparency and accountability.
The PAJ adds that while Jamaica celebrates its continued high ranking on the World Press Freedom Index 2016 (number 10 out of
180 countries), the organisation remembers colleagues in countries where press freedom is not given a similarly high priority.
The advocacy group Reporters Without Borders has noted that during the last ten years, more than 700 reporters have been killed globally in the line of duty.
The PAJ joins with press freedom organisations across the world in calling for an end to impunity for crimes against journalists. The Executive will therefore be asking members at the next General Meeting to consider supporting the call byReporters Without Borders (RSF) for the UN to create the position of Special Representative to the United Nations Secretary General for the Safety of Journalists.
“The goal is to establish a concrete mechanism that enforces international law and thereby finally reduces the number of journalists killed every year in the course of their work,” said RSF recently.
Here at home, as media workers continue to express concerns about working conditions and poor salaries, and the consequent negative impact on the profession, the PAJ will be hosting a special meeting at which Head of the Hugh Lawson Shearer Trade Union Institute Danny Roberts will be the featured speaker. The meeting will discuss issues related to the representation of media workers, and will be held on Sunday, May 15, 2016 at 2 pm at the PAJ offices at 5 East Avenue (the road opposite the Queens School). All media workers, whether members of the PAJ or not, are invited to attend.
Tags: Junior Dowie
The following tribute to veteran photographer Junior Dowie was delivered by Past President Ben Brodie on behalf of the PAJ at the funeral service at the Kingston Parish Church on Saturday, March 12, 2016
This morning, I have the bittersweet task of representing the Press Association of Jamaica at this thanksgiving service for the late great Junior Dowie.
Since his passing on February 17, Junior and his excellent work, has been at the centre of many a discussion among colleagues, (especially print media) but apparently in the by-ways and hedges where he was most comfortable. Though the call of duty constantly exposed him to Halls of High Society, he preferred the by-ways and hedges and was loved at this vibrant level of society.
GUIDELINES: PAJ NATIONAL JOURNALISM AWARDS 2014-15
5 East Avenue, Camperdown, Kingston 8
- Nominees must be employees of, or freelancers with a Jamaican media house – broadcast or print. Employees of regional or international media houses based in Jamaica whose work is extensively about Jamaica are also eligible.
- All entries will be judged on the principles of journalistic excellence – writing, research, originality, accuracy, incisive storytelling, analytical skills, the importance of the subject matter and the public interest.
- Electronic entries must show evidence of technical proficiency with use of sound and or images. Photographs must demonstrate sharp, balanced composition and good technical quality.
The Press Association of Jamaica’s National Journalism Awards will this year, for the first time, recognize the work of bloggers, with one new award, and the opening up of an existing award.
The category of “Best Blog” has been created to recognize journalism in new media, the Opinion Journalism Award is now being opened up to bloggers, as well as producers of podcasts and vidcasts, and the On-line Journalism Award has been re-branded as “Best News Website.”
“The contribution of bloggers to journalism across the world is undeniable,” says PAJ President Dionne Jackson Miller. “We wanted to open up another avenue to recognize that.”
“Opinion journalism, for example, has exploded far beyond the traditional categories of radio, TV and print, and there is a lot of biting, incisive commentary being produced outside of the traditional media houses,” she said.
The Best Blog Award will highlight excellence in news, current affairs, sports and entertainment, categories already recognized by the PAJ. The On-line Journalism Award has been re-named “Best News Website” to help bring greater clarity to the nature of the award.
All entries will be judged on the principles of journalistic excellence – writing, research, originality, accuracy, incisive storytelling, analytical skills, the importance of the subject matter and the public interest.
Submissions for the National Journalism Awards are now being accepted by the PAJ. Entries close on September 30, 2015.
The Press Association of Jamaica is announcing that the deadlines for entries to the 2015 National Journalism Awards are being brought forward by one month.
The publication period for work eligible for entry for the 2015 Awards, will be October 1, 2014 – August 31, 2015, one month earlier than usual. Entries may then be submitted from September 1-September 30, 2015.
“Traditionally, the publication period ends at the end of September, and entries come in at the end of October. This leaves approximately one month for the packaging of the entries and delivery to the judges, judging, and preparation of trophies. This really puts a lot of pressure on both the Secretariat and the judges, which we want to lessen,” says PAJ President Dionne Jackson Miller.
Work that is published in September 2015 will instead be eligible for the 2016 Awards.
In addition, this year, a late entry fee of $500.00 will apply.
“We always have a last-minute scramble, and often end up extending the deadline by a day or two to try to accommodate as many people as possible. While we want to continue to encourage entries, we are also asking people to realise that late entries create additional inconveniences, and we want to urge them to submit on time,” she explained.
The award will recognize excellence in journalism of works ‘published’ in the mass media, which focus on issues pertaining to the sustainable urban and rural development outcome of Vision 2030, and in particular its related strategy of ensuring “safe, sanitary and affordable shelter for all”.
A church service on Sunday, November 27 at the Hope Fellowship Church, 23 Molynes Road, St Andrew will kick start a series of activities to mark the 2011 National Journalism Week.
Under the theme ‘Justice, truth be ours forever: Journalism in a changing world’ the Press Association of Jamaica (PAJ) will focus on the unrelenting quest for truth by journalists and the need for transparency in building a strong and vibrant Jamaican democracy.
THE Press Association of Jamaica’s National Journalism Week will is slated for November 28 through December 4.
The week begins with a church service at the Boulevard Open Bible Church at the Washington Boulevard, Ken Hill Drive intersection in Kingston at 10:00 am on Sunday, November 28.
Last Sunday’s annual general meeting of the Press Association of Jamaica (PAJ) was suspended due to a lack of a quorum.
The Press Association of Jamaica (PAJ) is currently conducting a study to evaluate the extent to which it is serving members of the media fraternity and their expectations of the organization. The Executive of the association appreciates you taking the time to participate in this survey by answering the questions as clearly and as honestly as possible.
Please click HERE to take Survey.
N.B The survey is anonymous.
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