The International Forum for Responsible Media blog has a post up on proposed libel law reforms in Jamaica.
As Inforrm points out, the current common law of libel in Jamaica is the same as that in England and Wales, offering an interesting comparison when looking at how their authorities have approached reform over the last three years.
The blog lists the recommendations made in 2007 by a committee assembled by the country’s prime minister to assess its defamation laws, from changes to the limitation period which would match it to English law and the introduction of a defence of ‘triviality’, to guidelines for the assessment of damages. But much like English libel law in recent times, the years have now passed with no actual reform yet to speak of.
A Joint Select Committee was set up to consider this report and has not yet reached any conclusion. The Media Association of Jamaica and the Press Association of Jamaica made joint submissions to this Committee which, in general, supported the recommendations but raised additional points on the capping of damages and a “wire services” defence.
The Small Report is interesting as it shows how another jurisdiction – with similar libel laws to those in England and Wales – has grappled with the problems of reform. It is particularly noteworthy that in Recommendations eight and nine it has directly confronted issues of “remedial reform” which are ignored by the Libel Reform Campaign and by Lord Lester’s Defamation Bill.