Jamaican media group criticizes criminal coverage restrictions

By Joseph Vavrus

Christopher Coke, an alleged drug kingpin central to recent violence and unrest in Kingston, was arrested and extradited to the U.S. last week, but Jamaican media outlets were blocked from covering the arrest and were forced to rely on images taken by foreign photographers, the Jamaica Observer reports.

“While journalists were being blocked, hindered, deceived and restricted in filming and photographing this process, we were a few hours later embarrassed to see how US media were able to freely photograph, shout questions and get an answer from Christopher Coke,” wrote Gary Allen, chairman of the Media Association of Jamaica.

The island’s journalists are subject to a number of laws and government practices that limit their ability to cover the security issues including rules against tape recorders in court and police officials who think that "information is their personal domain," the Observer explains.

Note from the editor: This story was originally published by the Knight Center’s blog Journalism in the Americas, the predecessor of LatAm Journalism Review.