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Freedom of the Press 2008 - St. Vincent and the Grenadines

Publisher Freedom House
Publication Date 29 April 2008
Cite as Freedom House, Freedom of the Press 2008 - St. Vincent and the Grenadines, 29 April 2008, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4871f62b2a.html [accessed 20 April 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Status: Free
Legal Environment: 4 (of 30)
Political Environment: 7 (of 40)
Economic Environment: 6 (of 30)
Total Score: 17 (of 100)
(Lower scores = freer)

The constitution guarantees a free press, and publications openly criticize government policies. Although the government did not directly interfere with the press, the prime minister, Ralph Gonsalves, and other officials did rebuke the media from time to time. In March, Gonsalves filed a libel suit against the Trinidad and Tobago Mirror over an article about the early release of a convicted drug dealer. Gonsalves also threatened to sue a Vincentian political activist for reading the content of the article on a radio programme. In July, Gonsalves criticized the mass media for not reporting on what he described as "a major national story" – a High Court ruling in favour of the government's request that a foreign company hand over 100 acres of land which they had failed to develop as originally agreed. In September, Elwardo 'E.G.' Lynch, who hosts a talk show for the opposition New Democratic Party that is broadcast on Nice Radio, was threatened with legal action for slandering the minister of housing, Senator Julian Francis. Lynch has been involved in similar controversies in the past, and in 2005 was ordered to pay damages to Gonsalves. The main newspaper, the daily Herald, and the weeklies, News, Searchlight and The Vincentian, are all privately owned. The state-run St. Vincent and the Grenadines Broadcasting Corporation operates SVG Television and the Hitz FM music radio station. NBC is a partly government-funded national FM radio service, and there are numerous other private radio stations. There are no government restrictions on the internet, but it is not a significant source of information with only about 8 percent of the population able to gain access in 2007.

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