Jamaica Political Orientation
MBFC’s Country Freedom Rating: 77.95 – Mostly Free
World Press Freedom Rank: Jamaica 32/180
The Reporters without Borders World Press Freedom Index ranks Jamaica as the world’s 32nd-best country for a free press and states that it is an ”Almost flawless” example of press freedom.
Media Ownership and Government Analysis
In Jamaica, most media outlets are privately owned, including radio, television, and cable services, and due to geopolitical proximity, most of the media content originates from the U.S. or U.K.
In 2006, PM P J Patterson launched the Public Broadcasting Corporation of Jamaica (PBCJ), offering public education, information, and entertainment funded by private sectors and civic organizations. The Broadcasting Commission is the regulatory agency that primarily monitors and regulates television, broadcast radio, and subscriber television (cable) services. Further, another function is to make recommendations to the Minister of Information regarding which applicants should receive licenses for radio, television, and subscriber television (STV) services. The Governor-General appoints Commission members after consultation with the Prime Minister and the opposition leader.
In 2022 the opposition party, The People’s National Party (PNP), voiced its concern regarding “talk of changes to come at the Public Broadcasting Corporation of Jamaica (PBCJ) and the Broadcasting Commission (BCJ).” Furthermore, PNP stated, “the information minister appears to intend to politicize the governance boards when the law gives the power of appointment to the Governor-General specifically to keep these agencies out of the political fray.”
Jamaica’s major broadcasting company is Radio Jamaica Ltd. Television Jamaica Ltd. (TVJ) is the leading TV station, an RJR Gleaner Communications Group subsidiary, chaired by Joseph M. Matalon. The most prominent newspapers are the Daily Gleaner, the Observer, and the Star, owned by The Gleaner Company Ltd. Another commercial TV station is CVM Television, owned by Michael Lee-Chin through Portland Holdings. According to its website, in 2016, Michael Lee-Chin was appointed Chair of the Government of Jamaica’s newly established Economic Growth Council (EGC).
In summary, although Jamaica currently enjoys a free press, the government can politicize media, as evidenced by the opposition party’s concerns.
Last Updated on May 12, 2023 by Media Bias Fact Check
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