Gov’t welcomes news that Defamation Act accepted as regional model

Steadroy Cutie Benjamin (file photo)
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The government has received news that the Defamation Act of 2015 is being positioned to serve as a model for the rest of the English-speaking Caribbean with jubilation.

On Friday, the International Press Institute (IPI) issued a statement indicating that the country’s Defamation Act — along with that of Jamaica, Grenada and Trinidad & Tobago — is now included in its media laws database.

IPI also stated that “while imperfect, Antigua & Barbuda’s law in particular, the Defamation Act 2015, is well-positioned to serve as a model for the Caribbean”.

Attorney General Steadroy “Cutie” Benjamin, who tabled the Bill in Parliament in 2015, said he is pleased with the recent developments, and added that government intends to play a very active role in the process.

“Our law will be seen as a model law, just like our Labour Code was, because my government is a progressive government which thinks of the people and is determined to make certain that democracy prevail,” Benjamin said.

According to IPI, among a number of important changes, the Defamation Act 2015 abolished criminal libel; abolished the distinction between slander and libel; provided a non-circuitous definition of defamatory matter; introduced a single publication rule; and provided in statute defences of truth, public interest, fair comment, innocent publication, fair comment and absolute and qualified privilege.

(More in today’s Daily Observer)

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