Expression

While press freedom is generally respected in the Bahamas, increased tension during elections can lead to some pressure on private media. There have also been some isolated threats against the media, and in late 2013 a live hand grenade was found on the premises of The Punch, a privately-owned tabloid newspaper. Criminal defamation remains on the statute books in the Bahamas and carries a penalty of up to six months in prison. Public criticism of the head of state or government can also attract a charge of Seditious Libel in the Bahamas, carrying a potential two year sentence. In 2015, the government introduced a freedom of information bill, which is currently being debated. Although civil society has welcomed the bill as an improvement on an effort to legislate in this area in 2012, they recommend significant improvements should still be made to ensure it meets international freedom of information standards. The Internet is unrestricted and at least 77% of people in the Bahamas are online, according to statistics from the International Telecommunications Union in 2014.