Tuesday 1.11.2016 in Expression in Trinidad and Tobago Country Page
The Constitution guarantees the freedom of expression, and legal progress was recently made when defamation was partially decriminalised in February 2014. However, malicious defamatory libel known to be false has remained on the statute books. A so-called Cybercrime Bill was proposed in May 2014 that could impose further restrictions on investigative journalism. Trinidad and Tobago participates in the Open Government Partnership and was an early adopter of Freedom of Information legislation in 1999. Despite this, reports indicate that the government has gradually narrowed the categories of available public information and even the institutions subject to the law. Print media in Trinidad and Tobago are all privately owned, and the state operates one of four TV stations and three of about a dozen radio stations. Official state advertising is disproportionately placed on state-owned and pro-government private media. Negative remarks by state officials about critical media outlets and attempted political influence on news content have also been recorded. Internet access is unrestricted. There are no recent reports of physical attacks against journalists, but some threats have been recorded. Most notably, an investigative journalist temporarily left the country after receiving death threats in May 2014.