A shooting incident in the parking lot of a media house in Jamaica

Jamaica: Shooting at Media house attracts condemnation

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A shooting incident in the parking lot of a media house in Jamaica, received the condemnation of the based Caribbean Broadcasting Union (CBU) and the Association of Caribbean Media Workers (ACM).

The incident occurred on Monday at the National News Network (NNN)office and was immediately condemned by The Press Association of Jamaica (PAJ). Both the incumbent government and the opposition also spoke against the shooting.

Fortunately, no one was hurt in the incident but two vehicles were damaged and one of them had 4 bullet holes as well as a shattered passenger side window. Even though the parking lot was full of employees, no one was injured in the incident.

The PAJ has voiced its demand for swift action by the police against the perpetrators, an in-depth investigation and have asked for justice in the matter. They have also called for all Jamaicans to united against this attack on the press, calling it an attack on free media in the nation.

The ACM has demanded for a “swift and impartial police investigation into shooting” while also condemning such an attack on media personnel.

“ACM views the shooting incident as an assault on all the press in Jamaica. Any assault on the media, verbal or otherwise should not be tolerated and should be condemned by all and sundry. Our media workers, especially our journalists and others who work directly in news gathering should be allowed to do their jobs without fear or intimidation.”

“During a special meeting with the Press Association of Jamaica, ACM recommitted to providing support to our colleagues affected by this act and will be in contact with regional as well as international partners bringing attention to this act,” said the statement given by the media body.

The CBU, a non-profit-association of public service and media broadcasters in the Caribbean, also gave a statement stating that it was going to join the media fraternity in the region in condemning the attack.

The CBU described the incident as a “drive-by shooting at the offices of Nationwide News Network (NNN); an unprecedented event for media in the English-speaking Caribbean

“While police investigations are still ongoing, CBU notes the significant effect the incident has had on news professionals in Jamaica, who are now required to take additional security measures until the perpetrators are identified.”

The CBU also pointed out recent reports highlighting the deterioration of press freedom in the Caribbean, specifically due to such incidents in countries like Haiti Guyana and Jamaica.

“As noted in the 2023 World Press Freedom Index, like most other Caribbean countries, Jamaica dropped significantly in the rankings including in the security indicator. This indicator assesses the ability of journalists in a country to “identify, gather and disseminate … news and information without unnecessary risk of physical, psychological or professional harm,” the CBU said, adding that in the previous year Jamaica was eighth overall and in the most recent report Jamaica was ranked 39th.

“The CBU will be bringing the matter to the attention of regional and global bodies of which it is a member including the Centre for Media Integrity in the Americas as well as the News Committee of the World Broadcasting Unions,” the organization stated.

This particular incident has brought even more attention to issues related to the freedom and safety of media personnel in the region. In the international fraternity, freedom and safety of press are seem as very important markers for the growth and development of a nation or region. Hence, such an incident is not a good sign in the eyes of the world and paints Jamaica in a bad light in this regard. Not only that, it also has a wider effect on the perception of the Caribbean region on the whole.