PAJ, MAJ Meet with Commissioner of Police

Wednesday, July 21st, 2010

COMMISSIONER OF Police Owen Ellington says next month he will publish rules of engagement for members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force and journalists at crime scenes.

He made the commitment during a meeting on Tuesday (July 20) with a delegation from the Press Association of Jamaica (PAJ), and Media Association Jamaica Limited (MAJ). The meeting was held on the request of the PAJ following the harassment by a policeman of CVM Television’s videographer, Kirk Hall while covering a crime scene in St Ann several weeks ago.

The meeting agreed that all parties, including members of the Jamaica Defence Force, would consult on producing the final draft of police/media rules of engagement already developed by the JCF. The rules will reflect, where appropriate, the PAJ/MAJ Code of Practice for Journalists. On completion of the consultation, Commissioner Ellington said he would publish the protocols in the Force Orders on Friday, August 13, 2010.

The Commissioner reported that the investigation into the harassment of the CVM videographer was ongoing, following the initial removal of the policeman from frontline duty. He reiterated that the JCF would take appropriate disciplinary action against any member who obstructed media practitioners in the execution of their lawful duties at crime scenes.

Media representatives also raised with the Police High Command the issue of access to high security operations. Commissioner Ellington acknowledged the importance of the media gaining access in such situations, and stated that the police was willing to permit this, subject to safety considerations for the security forces and journalists. However, the Commissioner pointed out that where the law prohibited access to the media, the police had to conform.

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