Tuesday, January 28, 2014

IPI wants all parties to support amendment to Libel and Defamation Act

The executive director of the International Press Institute (IPI) is urging all parties to support the Libel and Defamation (Amendment) Bill 2013 currently being debated in Parliament.

In a statement issued Monday
, Alison Bethel-McKenzie congratulated the Trinidad and Tobago House of Representatives for passing legislation to partially repeal criminal defamatory libel offences, calling it "a monumental step in the right direction”.

The opposition People's National Movement (PNM) refused to support the amendment and argued in favour of keeping the act unchanged.
Bethel-McKenzie said, "Trinidad and Tobago is a leading member of the Caribbean Community and is obliged to uphold its commitment as a signatory to the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights, inclusive of Article 19 which holds that ‘everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions with interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers’.”

“Criminal defamation has no place in a democracy. It is not a legislated provision that is intended only to punish the media and other purveyors of information, analysis and opinion. It is a law that impacts every citizen in every corner of the nation. What it means is that anyone—anyone—can be jailed for publishing or broadcasting defamatory material, even if that material is published inadvertently.

“While IPI believes that every citizen should, indeed—must, have a right to his or her reputation, we believe that right is secured in the civil courts and that action against a journalist, or any other person, should be brought in civil court.

“Trinidad and Tobago should remain in its rightful place at the top of the list of democratic countries that not only boast of, but encourage, a free and empowered media. A media that informs, investigates and analyses; that keeps track of legislators and legislation; that investigates corruption and praises advancement.”

Read the EXPRESS editorial:

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Jai & Sero

Jai & Sero

Our family at home in Toronto 2008

Our family at home in Toronto 2008
Amit, Heather, Fuzz, Aj, Jiv, Shiva, Rampa, Sero, Jai