UPDATED: September 22, 2010
In view of the recent statements against blogging and social media by Police Commissioner Dottin and Director of Public Prosecutions Charles Leacock, Barbados Free Press again reminds folks that we will be here for the Bajan people, we will not be intimidated – and if anyone disagrees with anything we say, they are welcome to publish their reply to our audience.
“We don’t own BFP – we just take care of it for Barbados.”
Original article first published July 20, 2006…
The Deputy Prime Minister of Barbados, Mia Mottley, is calling for regulation of internet blogs and call-in shows. (Previous BFP article here)
In our opinion, the Deputy PM’s comments are directed squarely at Barbados Free Press as the major Barbados political blog – and at the popular call-in radio show Down To Brass Tacks.
As reported in The Nation News, Miss Mottley used the “L” word – libel – when speaking on the subject of blogs and call-in shows at the opening of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association conference being held at the Hilton this week.
Now we see that the General Secretary of the Deputy PM’s political party has again mentioned the “L” word while commenting on the Barbados Free Press…
“I am a firm believer in Free Speech. I however believe that this speech however critical should not be defamatory or libelous in any way. In any case there are already laws for that. How applicable they are on the internet I do not know.”
…Dr. William Duguid, Member of Parliament and General Secretary of the Barbados Labour Party – commenting on the Barbados Free Press article “Barbados Deputy Prime Minister Says Internet Blogs “Marginalize…Parliament…”
With regard to the libel and slander laws, we consulted with an attorney before we formed BFP and were told that we have nothing to fear if we only tell the truth and that is what we do. He also told us about “libel chill” which is where people who don’t like what we say make threats to sue BFP only for the purpose of making us afraid to publish. Right then we made up our minds that no threat will deter us from publishing the truth.
If the government, opposition party, or anyone thinks they have been libeled we want to hear from them and we will publish, in its entirety, everything they want to say and let our readers judge whether we told the truth.
Anyone who wants to can send us something to publish. If it is topical and interesting we will publish it. We know the difference between letters or emails that are signed and contain the person’s address and those that are anonymous and will treat them accordingly. We reserve the right to edit where space limitations or context requires but we promise that a writer’s full message will reach our readers.
Whistle Blowers Are Heros To Us
Sometimes people send us information or photos and, for reasons of fear, libel chill, or otherwise do not want to identify themselves. We encourage that. Barbados needs some whistle blowers and people who leak the truth because too much is being hidden that we Barbadians need to know. We promise we will never reveal the identity of these brave people. To us they are heroes.
We were happy to see that the government of Barbados hurried to pass a law in parliament regulating the internet. We were happy to see it. We were disappointed though, that it did not go all the way and pass Whistle Blower Laws, that protect caring Barbadians who know something is wrong but are intimidated into keeping quiet.
Disagree With A BFP Article About You? Say So!
You have seen it… Time after time, we have made statements about the present government, published photos, our observations and what we think.
To date there has not been one time where we have received notice that subjects of our articles consider them to be either slanderous or libelous. We leave it for the readers to figure out what that means, however we think it means we are hitting the mark and finding things out that would otherwise be hidden from Barbadians.
Do you see the government disagreeing with us about our stand on the country’s neglect of the environment? Do you see the government disagreeing with us on the lack of transparency and accountability for elected officials? No, definitely not, because it is all true.
We will continue to publish the Barbados Free Press until we no longer need to. Should “they” shut down our internet supplier, we have backup servers ready to go in three countries and will be back online within a day. (and THAT would make a great piece for the New York Times or on the BBC… “Barbados Government Shuts Down Citizen Website”)
In the past it was said that “freedom of the press only belongs to those who own one.”
Welcome to the new century – where ordinary people can now own a press on the internet.
We can think of no more healthy development for democracy and for Barbados.
Marcus, Robert, Shona, Clive, Auntie Moses and the rest of the BFP family.
Barbados Free Press – Barbados Deputy Prime Minister Says Internet Blogs “Marginalize…Parliament”…
Barbados Labour Party Blog – Deputy PM Has Her Say
The Nation News – Regulate Call-in Shows, Says Mottley