Gov’t Move To Extend Secrecy Clause Hints At Attempt To Hide Something – MAJ

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The Media Association Jamaica, MAJ, says the Holness administration’s push to extend the secrecy clause by 50-years smacks of an intent to hide something that’s close to the line of being accessible.

The MAJ says the move was being made without the provision of context or dialogue with stakeholders on the matter.  

The Media Association says it wishes to reiterate that given the prevailing examples of missteps in governance and the absence of dialogue on the justification, it believes the move which has the effect of shutting out the media is potentially damaging to the country’s press freedom reputation.

It also advanced that the existing 20-year wait for the public to find out what transpired in the governance of sensitive State issues, is already too long. 

In a release issued last evening, the MAJ again expressed concern over what it says appears to be a retrograde step in the push to update the country’s laws.

The Media Association says the move to keep Cabinet documents secret for 70 years is being made by the Holness administration without due regard to its impact on transparency in governance. 

It also says the parliamentary resolution for an increase in the protection of cabinet documents, under the Access to Information Act, from 20 to 70 years comes as a surprise because there was an expectation that the period would be decreased. 

On Tuesday, Minister with responsibility for Information, Karl Samuda, tabled the resolution which seeks to put into effect the new timeframe being proposed.

The resolution is entitled the Access to Information (Cabinet Document) extension of exemption period order, 2019.



Stevian Simmonds is an investigative journalist with almost 3 years of experience in radio broadcasting, production and reporting. She graduated from Caribbean School of Media and Communication in 2014 and joined Nationwide News in 2016. In 2018, she produced a special report examining the working conditions of the Bussiness Process Outsourcing Industry. She worked undercover as a call center agent for a month, revealing the lack of data protection and general security infrastructure in the industry. Her report also highlighted the poor working conditions and remuneration faced by workers in the industry. In 2018, Stevian traveled to New Delhi India where she participated in the Inaugural WHO Partners Forum benefiting from critical training related to reporting on women’s and children’s health issues.


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