PM Commits to Protecting Investigative Journalism Under New Data Protection Laws

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Prime Minister Andrew Holness says the Government will ensure that the investigative rights of the Jamaican media remain protected under the contentious Data Protection Bill.

He says Cabinet and Parliament will review concerns raised in the public domain about the proposed legislation.

The Press Association of Jamaica, PAJ, and the Media Association of Jamaica, MAJ, have expressed concerns about provisions in the Bill.

Mr. Holness was addressing last night’s opening ceremony of the Caribbean Broadcasting Union, CBU’s Annual Assembly at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in New Kingston.

CBU Head, Gary Allen, also addressed the event.

Mr. Allen articulated concerns that the Data Protection Bill in its current form could shut down news entities and place media houses in legal jeopardy.

The Prime Minister gave this assurance.

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Mr. Holness says policymakers must achieve their objective of safeguarding the media’s access to information while securing sensitive data.

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The Prime Minister said he’s convinced that media operating in the absence of duress is best for a democratic society.

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Mr. Holness says he currently depends on traditional media to use their good offices to correct misinformation which often goes viral on social media and isn’t subject to an editorial process.

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Abka Fitz-Henley is a multiple award-winning journalist who is currently the Senior Reporter at Nationwide News Network (NNN). His primary areas of focus are Court, Crime and Parliamentary proceedings. Fitz-Henley was recently recognized in the regional celebrity magazine publication Panache as “The Breaking News Boss”. At 21 years of age, following his 1st year in media, Fitz-Henley was recognized with the Young Journalist of the year award from The Press Association of Jamaica and went on to cop one of the country’s highest recognized journalism prizes, the Journalist of the Year Award. He’s also been awarded the prestigious Corporate Jamaica Broilers Fairplay 1st place Award for investigative journalism and is the recipient of the Caribbean Blog Award for coverage of the infamous Kartel murder trial. Fitz-Henley is also the recipient of the PM Youth Award for Excellence. Over the years, he has appeared as a guest on the BBC World Service and BBC London.