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The Constitutional Court began hearing on Monday, an application brought against the island’s two free-to-air television stations for refusing to carry an advertisement promoting tolerance of homosexuals.

Human rights activist and attorney-at-law Maurice Tomlinson is accusing the television stations of breaching the Constitution, after having refused to run a public service announcement in 2012, asking Jamaicans to love and respect their fellow citizens who are homosexuals.

The legal challenge also includes the government-owned Public Broadcasting Corporation of Jamaica.

Tomlinson is arguing that the actions of the stations violate the country’s Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms.

unique right

The human rights activist is contending that the charter guarantees the unique right of Jamaicans to seek, receive, distribute, or disseminate information, opinions and ideas through any medium.

Tomlinson says this right was included in the charter when it was passed in 2011.

The human rights activist is claiming that the stations have previously taken payment and aired similar advertisements promoting tolerance.

He is claiming that the stations have given no justifiable reason for refusing to air the latest advertisement, and he wants the court to find that their actions have breached the Constitution.

Tomlinson is being represented by attorneys-at-law Lord Anthony Gifford and Anika Gray.

The court hearing is expected to last until Friday.


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