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.
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