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PAJ meets with acting commissioner after complaints about police/media incidents

Sunday, February 25, 2018

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — The Press Association of Jamaica (PAJ) says its president, Dionne Jackson Miller and several senior journalists on Friday met with the acting police commissioner, Clifford Blake, to discuss concerns the association has about recent incidents between the media and the police.

In a release today, PAJ said it received assurances from Blake that the Police High Command remains committed to press freedom and will investigate complaints raised by Jackson Miller and her team regarding three separate incidents.

PAJ said it had been advised that investigations had been completed for one incident, "involving a media worker and a policeman at a courthouse", and recommendations from the investigation are to be sent to the acting police commissioner.

The two other incidents reportedly involved a photographer being pepper-sprayed by a policewoman and a third incident of conflict between a media worker and the security detail for Prime Minister Andrew Holness. Both incidents are reportedly being investigated, with the former slated for completion by the end of the month.

Blake reportedly assured the association that the 2010 Force Orders dealing with media policy, and 2014 Force Orders make it clear that members of the public have a right to take photographs or videos of the police in public. According to the release, he said there is need for an overall policy and that both force orders will be consolidated and re-issued.

Despite committing to ensuring that rank-and-file members are also committed to press freedom, Blake reportedly raised concerns about ome journalists refusing to obey police instructions on crime scenes, in cases where the integrity of an investigation could be compromised.

PAJ said it will continue to monitor these issues, and will update its members when it has new information.

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