New York, November 7, 2013–The Committee to Protect Journalists welcomes the repeal of criminal libel provisions by the Jamaican Parliament on Tuesday as a step forward in the campaign to eliminate criminal defamation in the Americas.
Dear OAS Ministers of Foreign Affairs: Ahead of the assembly of the Organization of American States on Friday, the Committee to Protect Journalists urges you to oppose any attempts to debilitate the regional human rights system. The failure of member states to preserve the autonomy and independence of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and its special rapporteur on freedom of expression would make citizens throughout the hemisphere more vulnerable to human rights violations and represent a blow to democracy in the Americas.
Jamaica enjoys considerable press freedom. Despite gang warfare across the island nation, the media have not had problems covering controversial stories. “The media freely report on crime and violence in Jamaica, with these reports gaining prominence in the press and broadcast media,” noted Donna Ortega, president of the Press Association of Jamaica.
IN A MAJOR VICTORY FOR THE JAMAICAN PRESS, the government agreed to amend a new law that made it a crime to report on certain government investigations. The government of Prime Minister Percival Patterson first introduced the so-called Corruption (Prevention) Bill as part of its efforts to bring national legislation into compliance with the 1996…