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IPI calls for the ‘decriminalization of defamation in the Caribbean’

IPI calls for the ‘decriminalization of defamation in the Caribbean’


The 60th annual meeting of the International Press Institute (IPI) has adopted by unanimous vote, a resolution calling for the decriminalization of defamation in the Caribbean.{{more}} This was among three resolutions adopted when the IPI concluded its World Congress in Taipei, Taiwan recently.

Archaic laws criminalizing defamation remain on the books of many Caribbean nations. The IPI has called for the amendment of these laws to make defamation a civil, rather than criminal offence and to provide that an action for defamation may only be maintained by persons affected by the alleged defamation. IPI members also urged the adoption of standards rejecting the imposition of imprisonment or excessive fines, as a punishment for defamation and urged governments to ensure that any punishment for defamation is proportionate to actual harm caused. The members also called on Caribbean nations to recognize that a greater degree of scrutiny and criticism should be allowed with respect to the actions of public figures. IPI delegations will soon be visiting Caribbean destinations to engage them in discussions relative to this resolution.

The 60th IPI World Congress was held under the theme: “The Asian Media Century? 21st Century Developments From New Technologies to Press Freedom.” This year’s event heard presentations from President of the Republic of China on Taiwan Ying-Jeou Ma; Jim Clancy, CNN Anchor and Correspondent and IPI Director Allison Bethel Mc Kenzie, among others.

The Caribbean delegation to the World Congress included veteran journalists Theresa Daniel of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Ernie Seon of St. Lucia, Clive Bacchus of St. Kitts /Nevis and Jean Claude Louis from Haiti. Two members of the organizing committee Frances Lakatoo and Darren Lee Sing of Trinidad and Tobago, where next year’s Congress will be held, also attended.

Trinidad and Tobago will host the IPI World Congress 2012. It will be held under the theme: “Media in a Challenging World: A 360 Degree Perspective,” from June 23-26.

The IPI is the world’s oldest global press freedom organization and was founded in New York in 1950 by newspaper editors from 15 countries, who recognized the need for an international press freedom organization. Today, IPI is an authoritative network of editors, executives and leading journalists from newspapers, magazines and broadcasting organizations and news agencies in over 120 countries.