Rape threat against journalist a 'new low', says Morgan

Robert Morgan and Phillip Paulwell
By Halshane Burke 
Both the governing Jamaica Labour Party and the People's National Party have condemned Monday evening's attack on media workers at the headquarters of the PNP.
Several personnel from various media entities turned up the PNP's Old Hope Road headquarters where supporters gathered to protest against the party's chosen candidate for St. Catherine South Eastern.
The media personnel were attempting to speak with representatives of the PNP hierarchy when supporters of the party as well as a party official became abusive towards them.
A supporter of the party could be heard on recorded audio threatening one of the female journalists with rape, and Deputy General Secretary of the PNP, Dexroy Martin, could be heard insisting that the journalists leave the compound because they were clad in green. 
Speaking in Parliament on Tuesday afternoon, Minister with responsibility for Information Robert Morgan said it was disturbing that the threat of sexual assault was levelled at a journalist. 
"This threat is completely unacceptable and represents a new low in the treatment of journalists in Jamaica. We are deeply disturbed by the trauma that this incident has undoubtedly caused for the female journalist who was present," he said, adding that "sexual violence has no place in Jamaican society and certainly not as a tool of intimidation against journalists". 
In addition to the rape threat, Mr. Morgan pointed out that another media worker from Television Jamaica was also threatened by a PNP supporter. 
"The supporter reportedly picked up a stone and began approaching and threatening the reporter before throwing away the stone," he noted, as he declared that these actions are "completely unacceptable and a violation of the fundamental rights of journalists".
The PNP has said the incident involving media workers was unacceptable and does not reflect the position of the party.
It also disassociated itself from Mr. Martin's behaviour, and sought to reassure the media that such behaviour will not be tolerated within the party.
Phillip Paulwell, Leader of Opposition Business in the House of Representatives, said the party is committed to ensuring that people are held to account for their actions. 
"The party has unreservedly apologised to the individuals who were present and to the fraternity in general. And this opportunity will not be used to point fingers but to accept that it should not have happened and that where the investigations lead, and we will fully cooperate with that, and the chips should fall where they may," he said in Parliament on Tuesday. 
PNP Deputy General Secertary Dexroy Martin has apologised for his remarks concerning the attire of the journalist.
Mr. Martin said he accepts that the comments were unacceptable and disrespectful.

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