Welcome

Welcome to Barbados Underground blog (BU). We intend to focus on the news and opinions which not carried in the traditional media because of the strange liable/slander laws that exist in Barbados. Given the recent assault on the Barbados media [2007] it behooves each Barbadian to speak-out. Many of the blogs posted will be the opinions of my wife and members of the BU household heavily influenced by experiences derived from observation of our society and interactions with citizens. We seek to stimulate discussion and at times, we expect that exchanges may be robust.

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3 Comments on “Welcome”

  1. Researching April 17, 2007 at 12:28 PM #

    Hi BU:

    We do not have any “very old” slander laws in Barbados.

    The Defamation Act was proclaimed in 1996 and it provides what appear to be adequate defences against accusations of slander or defamation. It is also a relatively easy read.

    The problem may be that too many publishers are advised to settle out of court rather than use the defence provisions of the act.

    I am not disputing other consequences of speaking “out”; but let us stop blaming “old slander laws”. I would recommend that you obtain a copy of the document from the Government Printery, read it, and stay within the protection of the law.

    Regards,
    Researching

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  2. David April 18, 2007 at 4:43 AM #

    Hi Researching

    I am no lawyer but try as I might the wording of the Defamation Act 1999 may be new but the language looks old to me. Maybe a lawyer can shed some light. I have uploaded the Act for information.

    David

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  3. Researching April 18, 2007 at 4:01 PM #

    Hi David:

    I am not a lawyer, but you can read the following:

    1. Section 6 provides the first defence where “the person defamed was not likely to sufer harm to his reputation”.

    2. Section 7 provides the second defence called the “defence of truth.” It is to be used if it is proved to be true and if it does not materially injure the plaintiff’s reputation.

    3. Section 8 provides the defence of fair comment on matters of public interest.

    The first schedule then provides a list of categories of reports and statements that are protected unless the publication was motivated by malice.

    Therefore if you are providing fair and balanced comment, not materially injuring a person’s reputation, and can prove what you are reporting, then all should be well. However, you should read the act for yourself and then be guided by a competent legal opinion on the act, specifically the definition of “materially”.

    Regards.

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