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Nov 5, 1998

P.M. endorses free press

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It was not so long ago when the attitude of the People’s United Party toward the press was summed up by one infamous phrase: “When it’s time to talk, we’ll talk,” said by Prime Minister George Price in 1993. Today the P.U.P. government is not only talking but acting as well. Having gotten out of the taxpayer financed propaganda business with the dissolution of the B.C.B., the government today took another major step toward implementing its media policy when it signed on to the Declaration of Chapultepec. That document, already endorsed by eighteen other hemispheric countries including the United States, Jamaica and most of South America, is a statement of ten principles outlining the rights and obligations of the state and the press. It was formulated at a conference organized in Mexico City in 1994 by the Inter-American Press Association and since that time IAPA has campaigned to have it adopted as policy around the region.

Today was Prime Minister Said Musa’s turn to sign as he joined IAPA’s President, Oliver Clarke of the Jamaica Gleaner, in a short ceremony in Belmopan. Musa said that the document’s spirit coincided with his government’s attitude toward a free press as a cornerstone of democracy, and that in today’s world of improved technology there could be no limits to the free flow of information.

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