CIVICUS

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Antigua and Barbuda

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Last updated on 14.04.2016 at 15:42

Antigua and Barbuda-Overview

Antigua and Barbuda is a small and relatively open country, where citizens are usually free to express their opinions, assemble in public and form groups to pursue collective interests. Although political pressure does sometimes interfere with mainstream broadcast and print media, 64% of people can access the Internet, which is free from government restrictions.

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Association

Civic associations such as professional associations and advocacy groups enjoy protection under the constitution, provisions which are generally respected by the state. This right can only be interfered with by the state for reasons of ‘defence, public order, public morality or public health’.

Civic associations such as professional associations and advocacy groups enjoy protection under the constitution, provisions which are generally respected by the state. This right can only be interfered with by the state for reasons of ‘defence, public order, public morality or public health’. Some CSOs also collaborate with the government in the delivery of public services. The freedom to associate is used by a wide variety of social and cultural groups in Antigua and Barbuda, with improvement of race relations and the conditions of people living with disabilities being two of the most prominent causes for activism.

Peaceful Assembly

People in Antigua and Barbuda are usually free to carry out public protests, demonstrations and other gatherings. Sometimes, however, when there is a political reason for a protest, the authorities deny permission, as they did in January 2016.

People in Antigua and Barbuda are usually free to carry out public protests, demonstrations and other gatherings. Sometimes, however, when there is a political reason for a protest, the authorities deny permission, as they did in January 2016. Such a course of action by the authorities is arguably permissible under the constitution, which provides that the right to free assembly can be limited in order to protect ‘the rights and freedoms of other persons.’

Expression

By most measures, free expression is protected and enabled in Antigua and Barbuda, and some good recent progress was made to improve the situation. In 2015, criminal defamation was abolished in Antigua and Barbuda following years of campaigning by regional and international civil society groups.

By most measures, free expression is protected and enabled in Antigua and Barbuda, and some good recent progress was made to improve the situation. In 2015, criminal defamation was abolished in Antigua and Barbuda following years of campaigning by regional and international civil society groups. It was replaced by a more progressive civil defamation law, although laws criminalising criticism of the government (Sedition) remain in place, and carry custodial sentences for those found guilty. Antigua and Barbuda also has an access to information law, although media advocates in the country have recently called for enabling regulations and greater citizen awareness to breathe life into it. There was at least one instance in recent years in which journalists working for private news websites were intimidated.