THE GOVERNMENT is one step closer to abolishing criminal defamation with the tabling of a bill to repeal the Libel and Slander Act.
Justice Minister Senator Mark Golding tabled the proposed law during yesterday's sitting of the Senate.
The Memorandum of Objects and Reasons of the bill says the proposed statute seeks to amend the defamation law to address the inadequacies of the present libel law.
This will be done by implementing recommendations made in the report of the joint select committee of Parliament on the reform of Jamaica's defamation laws.
The joint select committee considered and submitted a report on the recommendations of the Justice Hugh Small committee which reviewed Jamaica's defamation law.
A key feature of the bill is the abolition of the distinction between libel and slander and the establishment of a single cause of action to be known as defamation.
The proposed amendment of the defamation law will also see the reduction of the limitation period for actions in defamation from six to two years.
It also seeks to replace the defence of justification with the defence of truth.
The defence of innocent dissemination has also been introduced in the proposed new law.