CARIBBEAN ANTIGUA & BARBUDA The Observer Radio’s appeal to the Privy Council in London was heard in November 2000. The Privy Council, the highest court in the UK, ruled in favor of the radio and against the government of Antigua & Barbuda, which had seized the Observer Radio’s equipment in September 1996. The radio station is now undergoing tests and hiring staff. BARBADOS There have been no reports of complaints impacting press freedom and the exercise of this right remains evident in all aspects of the profession. GRENADA The media in Grenada continues to operate in a free environment, with some 10 radio and three television stations, as well as five newspapers, with no interference from the government. But a cause of concern is a proposed Broadcasting Bill which has been circulated for comment. While it deals primarily with the granting of licenses to broadcast companies and establishing a media policy, it also seeks to establish a “Code of Practice and Professional Rules” to apply to both broadcast and print media. GUYANA One privately-owned newspaper, the Stabroek News, and several private television stations operate freely and without censorship or interference. The Government has so far resisted pressure to issue licenses for private radio stations and maintains a radio monopoly. New broadcasting legislation has been promised for the last two years but has not yet been introduced. In an effort to improve media coverage for the national election scheduled for March l9, 200l, the media have agreed on a code setting out guidelines and principles and have invited two senior Caribbean journalists to monitor the code. Despite this, some television talk show hosts continue to broadcast inflammatory rumors as fact ¬– an action seen as irresponsible use of the media. TRINIDAD & TOBAGO There are two cases before the local courts that impact on freedom of the press. In one, Caribbean Communication Network Limited (CCN) is claiming infringement of its constitutional right to equality before the law and equal treatment by a public official. CCN, which owns the Trinidad Express newspaper and TV6, alleges that Prime Minister Basdeo Panday, acting out of animosity toward the group and showing bias, ignored the report of the state-appointed Statutory Technical Advisory Committee’s on the CCN application for a cellular telephone license and favored the application of the competing Gillette Group. Panday has been openly hostile to CCN since its chairman, Ken Gordon, publicly attacked the government’s proposed bill for “Reform of Media Law -Towards a Free and Responsible Media.” In the other case, the CCN chairman claims that Panday defamed his character and brought him into public ridicule when he called him a “pseudo-racist” at a public meeting, going on to define pseudo-racist as someone who uses racism for his own benefit, as opposed to a real racist who uses racism to promote his race. The court is being asked to declare that Gordon was libeled following his criticism of and call for the total withdrawal of the proposal for media law reform. In October 2000, the Trinidadian High Court found in favor of CCN Chairman Gordon, awarding him TT$600,000 with interest at the rate of 6% from the date of service (February 1998) to the date of the judgment. JAMAICA Jamaica continues to enjoy press freedom. The Gleaner Company Limited appealed two major libel awards handed down against it in 1995 and 1996 of the equivalent of about $650,000 and $2.3 million. The Appeal Court ordered the larger award reduced to about $1 million. The company announced it planned to appeal this new judgment to the Privy Council in London in the hopes of having the award overturned entirely.. The government is drafting two bills - one on the Freedom of Information Act and the other seeking new provisions for monitoring and eliminating public corruption , known as the Corruption (Prevention) Act. The media have strongly opposed a section of the bill which would ban and impose heavy fines for publication or use of information contained in “any declaration, letter or other document” as long as it is known or ought to be known that it comes from a member of the Corruption Prevention Commission and there is no reasonable ground to believe that the information relates to an act of corruption or any investigation into corruption.