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Call for meeting on how to engage PM

SHERRYLYN CLARKE, [email protected]

Call for meeting on how to engage PM

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KINGSTON, Jamaica – The Jamaica government has sought to “clarify” media reports of an incident involving a journalist and a member of the Prime Minister’s Close Protection Officers as the Media Association of Jamaica (MAJ) called for an “urgent and constructive dialogue on how journalists engage” Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller.
A statement from the Office of the Prime Minister said that the journalist had sought an “impromptu uncleared interview” with Prime Minister Simpson Miller as she left a function in the community of Rose Town.
“The Prime Minister did entertain the journalist’s questions on the Rose Town Development Project after which he approached the Prime Minister to get a comment on the reinstatement of State Minister Richard Azan.
“The Prime Minister responded on to the question and encouraged the journalist to share the good news about the developments taking place in Rose Town, before indicating she would wish no further comment on the reinstatement issue.”
But the statement said that the “journalist attempted to continue his questioning, moving toward the Prime Minister, at which point the PM’s security personnel began to clear a path for the Prime Minister to proceed to inspect the amenities launched as part of the community development project.
“This unfortunate incident follows on a similar one earlier this year of journalists pushing microphones at the Prime Minister in an attempt to have questions answered.”
The statement said “following that incident, guidelines were established for the proper management of on-location interviews with the Prime Minister, one of which calls for advanced notice of request for such interviews and the clearance of interviews with the Prime Minister’s on-site personnel.
“The Government fully supports press freedom and the right of journalists to ask questions of the Prime Minister but must insist this be done in a manner respectful of the office and in keeping with the stated guidelines.”
But MAJ chairman, Christopher Barnes, said there was need for urgent and constructive dialogue on how journalists engage the Prime Minister following the incident involving television journalist Vashan Brown.
The Press Association of Jamaica (PAJ) is expected to issue a statement on the incident later today.