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Act No. XI of 2018 - Media and Defamation Act

Thirteenth Legislature (2017 - 2022)

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Published on 24 April 2018

Bill No. 17 - Media and Defamation Bill

Objects and Reasons

The objects and reasons of this Bill are the updating of the laws on defamation, the abolition of criminal libel and the introduction of a new civil remedy for slander.

The Bill includes various provisions which strengthen freedom of the media by seeking to avoid disproportionate restrictions on journalists in actions in libel whilst protecting the victims of libel and slander.

It also encourages increased use of alternative means of dispute resolution such as the right of reply, voluntary clarifications, mediation and other practical means of avoiding libel litigation or the protraction thereof.

The Bill also includes consequential amendments to the Criminal Code in order to retain some of the criminal offences formerly provided for in the Press Act. The bill also introduces an amendment to the Code of Organization and Civil Procedure in order to prohibit the issue of precautionary warrants in defamation cases.

The Bill also abolishes the crime of defamation which shall henceforth only be a civil tort.

Motion No. 44 - Media and Defamation Bill