Opinion journalism does not exist in Jamaica, says media boss

Gary Allen
Gary Allen, President of the Caribbean Broadcasting Union and CEO of the RJRGLEANER Communications Group, has said opinion journalism does not exist in Jamaica.
He was responding to comments made by Prime Minister Andrew Holness on a political platform in West Kingston two weeks ago.
Mr. Allen said if Mr. Holness was suggesting that traditional media are reporting opinion as fact, he would be incorrect.
Mr. Allen addressed the issue while speaking Tuesday on the Morning Agenda on Power 106. 
"Yes, there are errors that have been made in the news and corrections that have been made. But do not suggest that people who have opinions that they are expressing, they are doing so as journalists through the news itself, unless that person is writing a column. And if we report accurately an opinion from somebody else, that does not make the entity reporting it bad because you're doing reporting," he pointed out.   
In response to Mr. Holness directing JLP supporters to visit his social media platforms for accurate news, while suggesting that not all information presented by the local media are factual or truthful, the Press Association of Jamaica (PAJ) on Monday took him to task for his remarks.
The PAJ said while the Prime Minister was free to criticise the press and challenge the veracity of its reports like any citizen, it is cause for concern when a political leader, speaking from a political party platform, seeks to undermine the media as a whole.
Mr. Allen believes the Prime Minister's comments about the media could put members of the fraternity at risk.
He has also questioned the relevance of Mr. Holness's comments at this time, especially, as he says research would show that media coverage and news reportage on him and the Government are unprecedented. 
"When there are issues like this, you have to get worried because if you have such a good, strong communication mechanism at work and it is delivering the kind of coverage that you are getting on a consistent basis, what is the need for going to conflate issues, in the way that has been done, where there is such a small, in my view, level of concern that needs to be had about the amount of information that goes into the space that may need clarification," he contended. 
Mr. Allen argued that with the upcoming election season, where journalists will have to be covering relevant stories, they are being put in a hostile environment based on the Prime Minister's comments.                         

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