MAJ says trickle-down effects of global dynamics impacting local media

The Media Association of Jamaica, MAJ says the trickle-down effects of global dynamics, continue to constrain local media’s ability to operate at desired levels of effectiveness. 

As it marks world press freedom day, it says this is  tantamount to financially induced censorship. 

The MAJ cites geopolitical tensions and  the killing of journalists which it says  represent the biggest threat to press freedom and must be strongly condemned.

It also points to  prolonged economic uncertainty, even as the media attempt to adjust to the new depressed environment brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic four years ago. 

The MAJ explains that media houses continue to struggle to earn sufficiently to sustain independence and provide decent wages for their journalists.

It points out that they are grappling with flight by advertisers -to digital platforms many of which do not uphold strong journalistic principles. 

Meanwhile the Media Association says locally, the sector contends with outdated defamation legislation, where burden of proof still rests with media houses,  potentially exposing valuable sources or whistleblowers.

It states that in a politically charged environment, the media  continue to see efforts to obscure or suppress information of public interest inimical to either side.

The MAJ adds that journalists will have to navigate the newly implemented data protection legislation which, while is a positive step for society in general, has elements which will unnecessarily make journalists’ work more difficult.

It cites increasing influence of external social media platforms extracting advertising spend to foreign jurisdictions, without paying taxes to the government and without direct compensation to the local media houses for content they are monetizing. 

The MAJ also notes that the use of artificial intelligence is increasing, and the local sector is  starting to contend with its unethical use.

According to the MAJ, tackling the threats to press freedom requires a collaborative effort to find a balance where a country and its people can develop in a free democratic society, local media can thrive, and journalists can practice their craft safely and with a decent living wage. 

The Media Association Jamaica says it is committed to playing an active role in achieving this balance with the support of all Jamaicans.


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