Jamaica | Freedom House

Freedom of the Press

Jamaica

Jamaica

Freedom of the Press 2006

2006 Scores

Press Status

Free

Press Freedom Score
(0 = best, 100 = worst)

17

Political Environment
(0 = best, 40 = worst)

7

Economic Environment
(0 = best, 30 = worst)

7

The constitution protects freedom of expression but does not explicitly mention the press. Most people are satisfied that the broad protection for freedom of speech covers the media. There is an Access to Information Act in place. Media are largely free to express critical views without significant restrictions. However, some media outlets expressed the need for reform of the country's libel laws, particularly the courts' ability to award high damages in defamation cases, which causes some journalists to practice self-censorship. There is also concern about the position of some large private firms, which often threaten to withdraw advertising to protest what they regard as negative coverage. The country has two national daily newspapers and a daily afternoon tabloid. There are a number of national and regional periodicals serving a variety of sectors and interests. The state broadcasting service was largely privatized in 1997, although the Kool FM radio station is still government owned. In December, it was announced that the new Public Broadcasting Corporation of Jamaica will begin radio and television operations next year. The government's Jamaica Information Service produces radio programs that are guaranteed airtime on all 16 national radio stations and also produces a 30-minute program about government projects and policies that is aired daily on the 3 national television stations. There are over 1 million internet users in Jamaica whose access is unrestricted by the government.