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Thursday, February 8, 2018

An important legal precedent was set with Monday’s ruling by Justice Frank Seepersad in a social media defamation case. A Facebook user will have to pay damages and costs to members of a family she falsely accused in a series of online posts of sexually abusing their children.

Social media has substantially increased the risk of defamatory content reaching a wide audience existing as it is in a space without physical borders and few restrictions where information is often shared without any fact checking or regulation.

The right to freedom of expression means that individuals are free to comment, even harshly, about issues of public interest. However, with that right comes the responsibility of ensuring that the comments are statements based on facts that can be proven and not made maliciously.

Liability for defamatory comments may apply, not only to the person who posts the original statement but social media friends, readers, or users endorsing them by sharing, commenting, liking the post, etc.

The bottom line is, make sure you have all of your facts absolutely straight before posting your statement to the internet because once you click “send,” you can’t take it back. Even if you attempt to erase it, the post remains somewhere out there in cyberspace and can come back to haunt you.

Youths denied time to shine

The decision by state-owned CTV not to have a live broadcast of this year’s National Junior Panorama finals robbed hundreds of talented young musicians of the opportunity for their performances to be enjoyed by the widest possible audience.

Unfortunately, since CTV holds the broadcast rights to these National Carnival Commission events, no other media house could take up the slack. As a result, some of the best steelband performances of the season so far went unseen and unheard by the vast majority. What a shame.

Where soca is heading

These events are now among the biggest draws in T&T Carnival. Machel Monday, Kes Tuesday on the Rocks and other Carnival week concerts featuring the country’s top soca artistes have lived up to and exceeded expectations with well produced, technically sound shows that highlight this year’s best musical offering.

Tonight expect even more top class entertainment when Calypso Rose holds the spotlight at NAPA in Port-of-Spain.


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