ANTIGUA & BARBUDA On 2002 September 13, the Prime Minister of Antigua & Barbuda signed the Declaration of Chapultepec. This is a notable change as, for some years, press freedom in these islands was tenuous at best and under siege at worse. The privately owned Daily Observer newspaper and its radio station have experienced severe harassment from the Government over the years, and it was hoped after the signing of the Declaration of Chapultepec the Government which owns or controls most of the media would have provided a more hospitable climate for independent media to operate freely and profitably. However, this does not appear to be the case, as recently both the Daily Observer newspaper and its radio company were assessed for income tax EC$3M each which was payable before appeal. Neither company's financial results warranted these assessments. Further, the Government has still not settled the taxed costs awarded to the Observer Radio Station when the case involving the illegal closure of the radio station was heard by the Privy Council in 2001. Elections are due to be held next year, and it is hoped that the Government-owned media will treat the political parties fairly. BAHAMAS There are no issues impacting on press freedom at present. BARBADOS No complaints impacting press freedom have been reported. GUYANA The President of Guyana signed the Declaration of Chapultepec last year. Two privately-owned newspapers, The Stabroek News and the Kaieteur News and several private television stations operate freely and without censorship or interference. The Government maintains a radio monopoly. However, new broadcasting legislation has been promised and a government spokesman has said that private radio licences will then be issued. This will complete the liberalisation of the media. GRENADA Grenada continues to enjoy press freedom. Recently, some 16 newspaper entities located; inter alia, in Antigua, Grenada, Barbados, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and Montserrat formed the Eastern Caribbean Press Council. The principals in this organization are Messrs. Harold Hoyte, Ricky Singh and Leslie Pierre, and the Chairperson is Lady Simmonds of Barbados. All of these persons are highly respected for their impartiality. This body will deal with all press complaints. TRINIDAD & TOBAGO There was a change of government from the United National Congress (UNC) to the People's National Movement (PNM) in Trinidad last year. The Prime Minister, Mr. Patrick Manning, signed the Declaration of Chapultepec in the latter part of last year. He has observed a hands-off policy with respect to the media. The media is under no threat since the derailing of the "Green Paper" threatened by the previous regime and which was vigorously opposed by media interests in Trinidad & Tobago and the wider Caribbean. JAMAICA The Gleaner Company Limited appealed to the Jamaica Appeal Court the two major libel awards handed down against the company in 1995 and 1996, of approximately US$650,000 and US$2.3 million, respectively. On 2000 July 31, the Court ordered the US$2.3 million award to be reduced to approximately US$750,000, but the company has appealed this judgement to the Privy Council in London, the final court of appeal in Commonwealth countries. This case will be heard in 2003 May. The US$650,000 judgement has been sent back for trial to the Jamaican Supreme Court. The Privy Council in June 2002 upheld the verdict in a libel case successfully appealed by the Gleaner in the Jamaican Appeal Court. The Privy Council decision in this case has been hailed as a "land mark" decision in the field of libel law, and now admits that a number of interpretations are often possible (in reading an article) and not just the most likely one that a reasonable reader would perceive. The Court did, however, warn that sloppy journalism which could lead to trouble and ambiguity should be avoided wherever possible. It should not be a screen behind which a journalist is "willing to wound and yet afraid to strike". The Government has passed a Corruption (Prevention) Act (which becomes effective August 2003) and an Access to Information Act. Both are in keeping with certain obligations which Jamaica has under its Organization of American States membership. However the Access to Information legislation lacks important regulations to become fully operational.