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Jamaican journalist urges Commonwealth to protect freedom of expression

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KIGALI, Rwanda — Veteran Jamaican journalist Dionne Jackson Miller had heads nodding in agreement in Kigali on Wednesday as she urged Commonwealth countries to call out fellow member states that are not doing enough to protect freedom of expression.

Jackson Miller, a former Press Association of Jamaica president, was among panellists on day two of the Commonwealth People’s Forum being held on the margins of the 2022 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM).

Discussing the theme, ‘Advancing Freedom of Expression in the Commonwealth’, Jackson Miller, armed with data, questioned the level of press freedom in some of the 54 Commonwealth member states, including the host country Rwanda.

Pointing to the level of freedom of expression in Jamaica Jackson Miller noted that the island is ranked at 12th on the latest World Press Freedom Index published by Reporters Without Borders and is the second-best performing country in the Commonwealth.

Jamaica is ranked behind only New Zealand, which is 11th on the list headed by Norway with Denmark second.

Jackson Miller shared that while Jamaican journalists are criticised and pilloried for their comments it is unlikely that they would be arrested for doing their jobs.

But she argued that even in countries, like Jamaica, which are doing well with media freedom complacency cannot be allowed.

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