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Antigua urged to abolish criminal defamation

Published:Tuesday | June 24, 2014 | 12:00 AM



The Vienna-based International Press Institute (IPI) is calling on the new Antigua and Barbuda government to honour a commitment to abolish criminal defamation on the island.

IPI said that in April last year, together with representatives of the Association of Caribbean Media Workers (ACM), they visited Antigua and held talks with the then government of Baldwin Spencer and the opposition Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party (ALP) headed by Gaston Browne on the issue.

In a statement, IPI said Browne had pledged "if the present government does not repeal this legislation by 2014, the ALP will do so within 90 days of taking power".

IPI said it is now calling on Prime Minister Browne, who led the ALP to a landslide victory in the June 12 general election "to keep to his promise and repeal criminal defamation within the first three months of his administration".

IPI press freedom manager Barbara Trionfi said the Vienna-based organisation is glad that Prime Minister Browne understands the importance of abolishing "a law that represents a sword of Damocles for journalists covering issues of public interest in Antigua".