The U.S. State Department has retracted an assertion made in the Human Rights Practices report for 2014. The report, which was released last week, stated that the Jamaican government monitored private online communications without appropriate legal authority, leaving the internet freedom of its citizens under threat.
The accusation had prompted a response from the Jamaican government who immediately denied such monitoring. Jamaica’s Minister of Information, Sandra Falconer stated that, “based on the evidence that we have and the information we have, there is no such monitoring.”
“We are not aware that any such monitoring is taking place. As a matter of fact, I don’t even know that we have the capacity to do any such kind of monitoring. The Government has not been informed by the State Department; we have not been presented with any kind of evidence, and one of the things we are seeking to do is to ask the State Department if it has credible evidence and to present us with such evidence.”
The minister added that, “without casting a judgment on the report, we want to see what evidence they have.” The Jamaican government’s request for such evidence led to the U.S. State Department to withdraw the assertions made in the Human Rights Practice 2014 report.
The report claims that, “the Jamaican government did not restrict or disrupt access to the internet or censor online content. There were no credible reports that the government monitored private online communications without appropriate legal authority.”
The United States Embassy in Kingston issued a statement stating that, “An inaccuracy was published in the Internet Freedom subsection of the 2014 Jamaica Country Report on Human Rights Practices. The U.S. Department of State has now corrected the report.”
“When there are inaccuracies, the Department of State documents these errors online and issues corrections to ensure the integrity of the reports.”
The Jamaican government has had problems with transparency in the past. In 2010, the then Jamaica Labour Party-led government denied that it had sought assistance from the United States government for surveillance during the 2010 military operation to seize a drug kingpin in Tivoli Gardens.
However, the Jamaica Defense Force has since refuted that claim.
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