CJA warns against emergency powers to silence mediaMartin Lumb December 7, 2020 0 COMMENTS
The Commonwealth Journalists Association has declared it is deeply concerned that some Commonwealth member states have responded to the coronavirus pandemic by assuming extraordinary powers which may have the effect of criminalising the work of journalists and arbitrarily restricting the ability of the news media to scrutinise the actions of governments and report in the public interest.
A statement said: “The CJA calls on the governments of all member states to support the critical role of independent media in reporting on all aspects of the unfolding pandemic.
“Governments need to work with the media and civil society. Gagging either or both of them, in whatever name, will only defeat the fight against the pandemic. Please do not shoot the messenger.“ – CJA President Mahendra Ved
“The CJA recognises that in order to respond to the public health emergency it may be necessary for governments to introduce emergency measures which restrict certain freedoms, but it reminds governments that those powers should be exercised proportionately, transparently, and only for the temporary purpose of dealing with the emergency.
“At this time of crisis, the dissemination of accurate news and well-informed discussion about the impact of the pandemic nationally and globally is vital if governments are to maintain public trust, to ensure fair treatment of vulnerable minorities and to avoid social tensions and distress.”