Posts on Social Media are part of the public space

Political parties, officials and surrogates are not immune to findings of defamation, incitement, malice, provocation, volatile confrontation or increasing of tension by their posts. The language, product, actions and reactions on a social media platform must be responsible and just as accountable as in other media spaces, notwithstanding the fact that faces are hidden by a screen.

Jamaica’s political parties committed to the tenets of the Agreement and Declaration on Political Conduct, signed in Jamaica’s George William Gordon House in September of 2005. Among these are the Avoidance of Confrontation and the control of negative Public Utterances.

By signing certifying their continuing adherence to these values, candidates and elected officials accept a duty to improve our politics for our people.

Political Tribalism in the Code of Conduct states –

“The Parties eschew the practice of political tribalism rooted in coercion, intimidation or violence of any kind and the parties commit themselves to removing any structures and resisting the development of any behavioural, cultural, social or organizational practises, which reinforce political tribalism” and demands that political leaders and officials conduct their business having regard for the rights of members of other parties, of persons who are of no party and of the public.

We applaud the recent meeting of the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition at the start of 2019 in a very toxic conflictual time for Jamaica.  The other meetings proposed require from the party leaders and teams, wisdom, restraint, good listening and respect for those who are not at the table; but are those for whom the decisions are being made.

I call on the officials of political parties and supporters to remove the posts on social media that demean and distort and to put forward material that will help the leaders to arrive at the best course of action for Jamaica to increase the welfare of all Jamaicans.

Hon. Donna Parchment Brown, CD, JP, Notary Public
Political Ombudsman
85a Duke Street
Tel: (876) 922-8653; 922-0317
Cell: (876) 280-3612


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