ANTIGUA & BARBUDA Antigua is due to go to the polls on March 23, 2004. The state-run media have thrown their weight fully behind the present governing party – the Antigua Labour Party headed by Prime Minister Lester Bird. The privately-owned Observer Media Group have continued to experience threats and some harassment from government. BARBADOS Barbados continues to enjoy press freedom. There have been no legal issues, press freedom violations or crimes against journalists. GRENADA The media in Grenada continues to enjoy complete freedom although every now and again talk surfaces about Government legislating a "Media Policy" and the Minister for Information actually said to the executive of the Media Workers Association of Grenada — during a "getting to know you" courtesy call following the November General Elections as well as MWAG elections when they asked for some assistance with funding for training in journalism — that if they give support to the establishment of the Media Policy the Government might look kindly on the idea of helping MWAG. The Government, and particularly the prime minister, pounces quickly on perceived libel/slander and have received awards from the Court against the major Grenada Broadcasting Network (in which Government owns 40%) as well as The Grenada Informer and Grenada Today newspapers. Also, the Privy Council has recently turned down a Constitutional Motion against a charge being made against the Editor of the Grenada Today newspaper for Criminal Libel and the case is now due to be heard next month. GUYANA Two privately-owned newspapers, the Stabroek News and the Kaieteur News and several private television stations operate freely and without censorship or interference. There is a high level of media freedom in Guyana. Perhaps the only blot on the record is that the Government maintains a radio monopoly that it inherited from the previous government. New broadcasting legislation has been promised for some time and a government spokesman has said that private radio licences will then be issued. But this process has been taking a long time. This will complete the liberalization of the media. JAMAICA In July 2003 The U.K. Privy Council upheld a Jamaican Appeal Court decision for the award of J$35,000,000 (US$750,000) for libel against the Gleaner Company Limited. The Jamaican Supreme Court also in this year awarded J$20,000,000 against CVM, a Jamaican television station. An appeal has been lodged in the Jamaican Appeal Court against this J$20 million award. The Gleaner’s libel case had been in the court system since 1988 with the first award being made in 1996. The Privy Council’s decision therefore included interest from 1996, so it amounted to over J$50,000,000.00 plus legal costs. (Costs were awarded against the media houses in both instances.) The Gleaner paid in full the judgment debt and interest. The co-defendant in the Gleaner case, Dr. Dudley Stokes, a former Editor of that newspaper company, has filed a petition with the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights seeking a ruling that the huge award breached the American Convention on Human Rights with regards to Freedom of Expression. The Petition is against the Jamaican Government, which ratified the above Convention in 1978. The Inter-American Commission for Human Rights is expected to hear the Petition around September 2004. The Jamaican Government has passed an Anti-Corruption Act and was scheduled to pass an Access to Information Act (AIA). Passage of the latter has been postponed twice, August 1 and October 1, 2003. The passage of the relevant Regulations to accompany the Act was the cause of the delay. It was decided to implement the AIA on a phased basis. The first phase was implemented in January 2004 with the expectation that full implementation will be completed by August 2004.