Lawmakers in St. Vincent and the Grenadines should amend or scrap a draft cybercrime law that would allow for prison sentences of up to two years for defamation, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Legislators are expected to consider the draft on Thursday, an opposition politician told CPJ.
Vincentian Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves, pictured on a 2009
visit to Trinidad, has defended criminal defamation laws as
preserving "peace and tranquility." (AP/Andres Leighton)
The most recent draft of the law provides for prison sentences of up to two years for "a person who uses a computer system to unlawfully publish any defamatory matter concerning another person, whether negligently or with intent to defame that other person," Anesia Baptiste, an opposition politician who participated in the committee that reviewed the bill, told CPJ. The Penal Code of St. Vincent and the Grenadines already includes penalties of up to two years in prison for defamation, which applies to print, writing, and broadcast media.