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PAJ joins call for repeal of law which prohibits taking photos of criminal defendants

There is growing pressure for the Government of Jamaica to repeal a section of the Criminal Justice (Administration) Act, which prohibits photographing or sketching of prisoners in court, or in the precincts of the court.
 
The Press Association of Jamaica (PAJ) has joined the Media Association of Jamaica in calling for the Government to modernise the law. 
 
Parliament recently passed an increase in the fine associated with the offence from $20 to $1 million, and possible imprisonment in default of payment from one month to a year.
 
PAJ President George Davis has described the increased fine as draconian and expressed concern about the possible prison time. 
 
Mr. Davis said photographs of defendants are now routinely published once charges have been laid. 
 
He argued that the police regularly release names and even photographs of individuals they refer to as 'persons of interest' who have not been charged with an offence.
 
Mr. Davis argued that concerns that exist can be dealt with on a case by case basis, given the power of the court to make orders.  
 
He said repealing the outdated provision can only enhance Jamaica's reputation as a bastion of press freedom. 


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