Jamaica is a North American country located in the Caribbean, sharing maritime borders with Cuba and the Dominican Republic. It is a secular state with a Protestant Christian majority. It was part of the West Indies Federation between 1958 and 1962, when it attained independence from the United Kingdom. It is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations.

General censorship[]

The law provides for freedom of speech and press, and the government generally respects these rights in practice. An independent press, generally effective judicial protection, and a functioning democratic political system combine to ensure freedom of speech and press. The independent media are active and express a wide variety of views without restriction. Broadcast media were largely state owned, but open to pluralistic points of view. Although the constitution prohibits arbitrary interference with privacy, family, home, or correspondence, in practice the police conduct searches without warrants.

A law decriminalising defamation was passed by the Jamaican House of Representatives in November 2013 after being approved unanimously by the Senate the previous July. It took six years to amend the libel and slander laws, which – although little used – made media offences punishable by imprisonment.

Today's Jamaican broadcasting, such as the cable television and radio, is governed by the Jamaica Broadcasting Commission (JBC). JBC aims to regulate and monitor the media industry; more importantly, it runs with full power of the regulation making and the control of the programming’s standard and technical quality. However, broadcasting regulation contains some very vague clauses, like Regulation 30(d) and Regulation 30(l)... which causes more difficult for JBC of dealing with the related issues. Censorship in Jamaica has been reported extensively on the issues of dancehall culture, film, and street art. Broadcasting in Jamaica has been characterised by increased imported foreign media, mostly from United Kingdom or United States.

The Jamaica broadcasting commission implements two broadcasting laws: the Broadcasting and Radio Re-diffusion Amendment Act and the Television and Sound Broadcasting Regulations. The commission has informally adopted the principles of the Freedom of the Press clause contained in the United States' first amendment. As mentioned earlier, because the commission itself lacks clear legal guidelines, it is hard to analyse the related censored content.

Book censorship[]

Film censorship[]

  • Amistad - this movie directed by Steven Spielberg, had an opening scene in Jamaica that discussed slavery. Due to the Jamaican unique history of colonialism, more than 90 percent of the Caribbean islanders are slaves who originate from West Africa. Considering this slave trade history, the Jamaican Cinematographic Authority thought the scene of a slave ship revolt was inappropriate for Jamaican audiences. Rex Nettleford who is vice chancellor at the University of the West Indies referred to such censorship as "a real disappointment." He thought the government should not use censorship as a tool to control public and conceal historical truths, referring to the instance as a "conspiracy of silence".

Internet censorship[]

There are no government restrictions on access to the Internet or credible reports that the government monitors e-mail or Internet chat rooms without judicial oversight.

Television censorship[]

Video game censorship[]

External links[]

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