Thursday, 11 May 2023 12:33

PNP says rape comment not directed at journalist

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The Opposition People's National Party (PNP) says, after conducting an investigation, the "rape" comment—purportedly aimed at a journalist and which led to heavy criticisms of the political party over the last few days—was not directed at the media worker.

In providing an update Wednesday evening on its investigations into the incident that occurred at the PNP headquarters on May 8, the political party said it appears that the comment was made as part of a separate conversation between two protesters from St Catherine South Eastern who were in the vicinity.

"Our investigations have been focused on identifying the individual responsible for making the "rape" comment, the intended target, and the context in which the comment was made," the PNP said. "Based on our analysis of the recording, as well as interviews conducted with individuals present at the time of the incident, it appears that the comment was made as part of a separate conversation between two protesters from SE St Catherine who were in the vicinity.

"It was not directed towards the journalist present," the PNP added.

The party said it has sought the assistance of the constituency of St Catherine South Eastern to help identify and locate the people on the recording of the incident.

"While the comment appears to have been banter between friends, the PNP wishes to reiterate its condemnation of all forms of violence and abusive language or behaviour, particularly towards women. The PNP will continue to support investigations by the authorities into any such incident and take swift and appropriate action against any and all perpetrators," the party insisted.

The Opposition said it has shared its initial findings with representatives of the media houses that were present at the time of the incident.

"We will be reaching out to the RJR Media Group, Nationwide, the Media Association of Jamaica, and the Press Association of Jamaica to establish protocols for media engagement going forward.

"We want to reaffirm our commitment to maintaining the highest standards of professionalism and respect in all our interactions with the media and the public. The PNP recognises the critical role that journalists play in holding public officials accountable and values the media's role in a democratic society," it said.