BVI News

Assent should be withheld for Bill that censors media


Opposition Leader Marlon Penn has insisted that no assent should be granted to any law that seeks to censor the media in the execution of their duties or restricts persons from expressing their democratic rights.

Penn was commenting on the Whistleblowers Act, 2021 which has so far seen several rounds of public consultation with residents in various communities around the territory as well as through online platforms.

The Bill is expected to have its second and third readings in the House of Assembly beginning today.

Penn said if there is anything contained in the Bill that restricts the media’s rights to express itself or a person’s right to express themselves publicly or to express concerns they may have with an administration, this will have to be addressed within the legislation during the Committee stage of the process.

During committee, which is closed to the public, the Bill is considered in very close detail. Every clause is carefully examined, and amendments to the Bill may then be moved and voted upon.

Persons must also be responsible

Penn, in the meantime, underscored that it was also important for persons to be responsible as well and said persons should not be allowed to slander or defame others without consequence.

One of the hallmarks of a democracy, Penn expressed, is that of a free and fair media.

“Media has to be able to bring the news to people without being censored or being manipulated in any way,” Penn said.

The Whistleblowers legislation allows any public officer or private worker to be able to legally make reports without being penalised by the employer. Persons are however warned that whistleblowers must have evidence if bringing a report.

Copyright 2021 BVI News, Media Expressions Limited. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or distributed.


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  1. Joshua says:

    Mr Penn the more you speak the more you are sounding like the leader that the island needs. I was appalled by the comments once again by the junior labor minister.

    Like 16
    Dislike 43
    • @Joshua says:

      Sometimes I don’t agree with your blogs, but this blog I am in agreement with. I would agree 100%. If he decide to make a run I will support him. Him and his wife looks great together.

      Like 8
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  2. heckler says:

    We need to maintain our freedom of speech…The VIP want to be doing stupidness and don’t want nobody to say nothing and be cheerleaders like the yellow site

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  3. SMDH says:

    Marlon has access to the Bill’s. He knows exactly what’s in the bill

  4. Wow says:

    They trying to find a LEGAL way to not be transparent…this bill should never pass. If it does alot more corruption will occur. No to Whistleblower bill. This is the first democratic country that I see the people voice is only heard when it is time to voted. No to biwater and still biwater was able to come to play. Wow. People have no voice. This is not democracy…whistleblower bill =No Transparency

    Like 10
    • Rubber Duck says:

      You are entirely correct. This bill is designed to suppress criticism of politicians and suppress dissent. It masquerades as a help to whose who see dishonesty and corruption but offers huge penalties if you cannot 100% prove it. It is typical of the Zimbabwean thinking of this dreadful clueless 1984 style government.

      Do not be fooled and Governor please do not assent to it.

      • Fine print says:

        None of the bills need assenting to until this COI finish and then put Sensible committees in place to relook those bills prior to assenting to.

  5. Observer says:

    Make no mistake, these bills being put forward are an assault on freedom of speech, both for the press and ordinary citizens.

    Seeking to scare people into the silence and criminilise speaking out against corruption under the guise of “openness” and “integrity” is absolutely disgusting.

    The last governor already assesnted to a bill which makes defamation a criminal offence. Hopefully the new governor will stand up and not assent to anything which limits ordinary citizens basic fundamental freedoms.

  6. itstime says:

    I left many comments on Virgin Island News that were not posted, No bad words I have seen some that shouldn’t have posted because of the language but the difference is with some of my comments they speak against the Government and sound a bit political. We all know who owns the Virgin Island News. Maybe this won’t be posted if it’s not then I know where we stand with our democracy and the VIP Government

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  7. YOUTH says:

    Marlon is being deceitful. I read the Bill and I do not see anywhere in the Bill where the government is trying to silence the media. He needs to tell the truth.

  8. Anonymous says:

    listening to smuf is like listening to a moo moo he can never be Premier

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