Persons, who knowingly report false information regarding the well-being of children to the Office of the Children’s Registry (OCR), could face criminal sanctions.The warning came from OCR Registrar, Greig Smith, during the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) aimed at enhancing the Ananda Alert System, held at the Courtleigh Hotel and Suites, New Kingston on Tuesday, May 14.Mr. Smith informed that apart from the Child Care and Protection Act, there are various other legislation, which can be enforced to deal with persons, who make prank calls to the agency.Children’s Advocate, Diahann Gordon Harrison, who is an attorney by profession, informed that such individuals can be charged for creating public mischief.“If you knowingly make a false report, that is in fact a criminal offence and can be punishable under the law and even outside of the Child Care and Protection Act at common-law, there is the Offence of Public Mischief (for) burdening the state’s resources, knowing that it is in fact just mischief,” she said.The MoU, which was signed by various stakeholders is aimed at raising public awareness concerning missing children and also seeks to strengthen rescue, recovery and intervention measures that are vital to the welfare of child victims and their families.Signatories included representatives from the Child Development Agency (CDA); Jamaica Information Service (JIS); Office of the Children’s Advocate; Creative Production and Training Centre (CPTC); Public Broadcasting Corporation of Jamaica (PBCJ); and Ministries of Youth and Culture, Health, Education, Justice, Local Government and Community Development, National Security, and Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade.Ananda Alert is a nationwide system designed to ensure a speedy and safe recovery of a child in the unfortunate event that he/she is missing or abducted.It involves the mobilisation of stakeholders to get the message of a missing child into the public domain the moment the matter is reported to the police.The aim is to create a rapid response from law enforcement and communities to help bring the matter to public attention with the aim of increasing the chances of a safe recovery and return to family, guardian and/or place of safety.The management of the Ananda Alert System, previously the ambit of the Local Government Ministry, was transferred to the OCR, which is an agency of the Ministry of Youth and Culture, on March 1, 2013.Contact: Chris Patterson
The Women’s Media Center will honor Ashley Judd with the WMC Speaking Truth to Power Award at the Women’s Media Awards on October 26 at Capitale in New York City.Judd joins 2017 Honorees Jane Fonda, Maria Hinojosa, April Ryan, María Elena Salinas and Gail Tifford. Maya L. Harris, lawyer, MSNBC analyst, senior policy adviser to the 2016 Hillary Rodham Clinton presidential campaign, and former board co-chair of the Women’s Media Center, will host this event for the first time.Judd was the first actor to be a named source, and to share her story about Harvey Weinstein’s alleged sexual harassment, which Judd did in The New York Times investigative report.Judd is chair of the Women’s Media Center Speech Project, which raises awareness about the scope and toxic impact of online harassment and its costs to women’s civic and political participation.“It’s crucial to call out those like Harvey Weinstein who misuse big power, and also to reward those who risk what small power they have by telling the truth,” said Gloria Steinem, co-founder of The Women’s Media Center. “I would like to pay tribute to my friend Ashley Judd, who travels the world encouraging women and girls to tell the truth about being prostituted and sex trafficked, and who now has led global truth-telling in the most powerful way — by example.”Judd is a feminist who has been working for social justice internationally — through NGO’S, grassroots organizations, governments, and supranational bodies — since 2004. She received Golden Globe nominations for Norma Jean and Marilyn and De-Lovely and Emmy nominations for Norma Jean and Marilyn and Missing. She will next be seen starring in season two of Epix’s political thriller series, Berlin Station.“I chose Ashley to speak at TEDWomen2016 on her experiences as a survivor of cyber attacks, bullying, sexual harassment and her talk posted on TED.com has had huge impact around the world,” said Pat Mitchell, WMC’s board chair and curator and co-host of TEDWomen. “We are thrilled to have her perspective on our WMC program, speaking as she always does, for survivors everywhere.”Lauren Embrey is the chair of the 2017 Women’s Media Awards. Co-chairs are Loreen Arbus, Abigail Disney, Jane Fonda, Mellody Hobson, Victoria Jackson, Pat Mitchell, Robin Morgan, Susan Pritzker, Bonnie Schaefer, Regina K. Scully, Gloria Steinem, and Mary & Steven Swig. Proceeds support the continuing work of the Women’s Media Center in advancing women and accuracy in the media.Julie Burton, president of the Women’s Media Center, said: “At a time of political attacks on women’s equality, safety, bodily integrity, and educational and economic opportunity — and when the role of independent and honest media is being undermined at the highest level of government — our honorees represent trust, truth, and excellence. Whether in front of the camera or behind it, in traditional media or on-line, they tell the stories of our lives, and are champions of accuracy, empathy, and democracy for women in all our diversity. We are proud to celebrate them each year at the Women’s Media Awards.”Past WMC honorees include Luvvie Ajayi, Christiane Amanpour, Amma Asante, Laura Bates, Samantha Bee, Ursula Burns, Katie Couric, Sady Doyle, Mona Eltahawy, Sarah Hoye, Gwen Ifill and Judy Woodruff, Sheila C. Johnson, Maria Teresa Kumar, Laura Ling and Lisa Ling, Lara Logan, Pat Mitchell, Martha Nelson, Soledad O’Brien, Salma Hayek Pinault, Elianne Ramos, Joy Reid, Yanique Richards, Anita Sarkeesian, Regina K. Scully, Mary Thom (posthumously), Marlo Thomas, Barbara Walters, Padmasree Warrior, Lindy West, and Maggie Wilderotter.The Women’s Media Center was co-founded by Jane Fonda, Robin Morgan, and Gloria Steinem, and works to make women visible and powerful in media. We train women leaders in media skills, make women experts available to the media through WMC SheSource, and conduct groundbreaking research and reporting on inclusiveness and accuracy in the media. We also feature women’s voices and stories on our award-winning radio broadcast and podcast, “Women’s Media Center Live with Robin Morgan,” and in WMC Features, WMC Fbomb, WMC Speech Project and WMC Women Under Siege.To buy tickets, or to find more information about the 2017 Women’s Media Awards and our ongoing work, go to: www.womensmediacenter.com.