Press institute to push for abolition of defamation as a crime in Caribbean

(Jamaica Gleaner) The International Press Institute (IPI) has announced it will be sending missions to four Caribbean countries, including Jamaica, as the next step in an ongoing effort to abolish criminal defamation laws in the region.

IPI representatives will travel to the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Barbados, and Trinidad and Tobago next month to meet with government, media, and civil society representatives on decriminalising libel offenses.

The missions are a continuation of IPI’s previous work on the subject, including a previous mission to Jamaica in December of last year.

All 13 independent states in the Caribbean maintain criminal defamation laws, with each providing a penalty of at least one year in prison. The IPI argues that libel cases belong in civil courts and not in criminal courts. It argues that journalists investigating corruption or abuse of power, in particular, should not face imprisonment for their work.

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