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The Vienna-based International Press Institute (IPI) Monday said that defamation laws remain widespread across the Caribbean that could even lead to imprisonment.
IPI said that it carried out a comprehensive legal review of the situation in the region and that “every independent state considered geographically or culturally part of the Caribbean maintains some form of criminal defamation that could result in imprisonment”.
It said of the 16 countries, Antigua and Barbuda, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Grenada, and Haiti, have seen journalists criminally prosecuted for defamation within the last 15 years.
IPI said last year in the Dominican Republic, two journalists were sentenced to prison and a third threatened with criminal charges.
IPI conducted the independent review as part of its campaign to repeal all criminal defamation and insult laws in the Caribbean, which kicked off last year with advocacy visits to Barbados, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, and Trinidad and Tobago.
“IPI’s review provides the most complete picture yet of criminal defamation and insult laws in the Caribbean,” IPI Executive Director Alison Bethel McKenzie said.