Freedom of the Press
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St. Vincent and Grenadines
Press Freedom Score (0 = best, 100 = worst)
Legal Environment(0 = best, 30 = worst)
Political Environment(0 = best, 40 = worst)
Economic Environment(0 = best, 30 = worst)
The government continued to pressure the media for favorable coverage, as the prime minister and government officials filed numerous libel suits against media outlets. The constitution guarantees a free press, and although the government does not often interfere directly with the press, the prime minister, Ralph Gonsalves, and other officials rebuke the media from time to time. In March, Gonsalves filed a libel suit against the Trinidad and Tobago newspaper Mirror over an article about the early release of a convicted drug dealer. Gonsalves also threatened to sue a Vincentian political activist for reading the content of the article on a radio program. In July, Gonsalves criticized the mass media for failing to report on what he described as “a major national story”—a high court ruling in favor of the government’s request that a foreign company hand over 100 acres of land. In September, Elwardo “E. G.” Lynch, who hosts a talk show for the opposition New Democratic Party that is broadcast on Nice Radio, was threatened with legal action for slandering the minister of housing, Senator Julian Francis. Lynch has been involved in similar controversies in the past and in 2005 was ordered to pay damages to Gonsalves. The main newspaper, the daily Herald, and the weeklies News, Searchlight, and the Vincentian are all privately owned. The state-run St. Vincent and the Grenadines Broadcasting Corporation operates SVG Television and the Hitz FM music radio station. NBC is a partly government-funded national FM radio service, and there are numerous private radio stations. There are no government restrictions on the internet, but it is not a significant source of information, with only about 8 percent of the population able to gain access in 2007.