I have an embarrassing confession to make.
I like to read government documents.
C’mon. Let the laughter roll. I can take it. After all, I’ve been doing it since the ripe age of six, sifting through my dad’s engineering proposals that I didn’t understand in the least.
It gives me thrills to find that one little nugget of gold in the pile of bureaucratic word vomit.
But check out this gem I found in Grenada’s draft Constitution:
“Parliament shall therefore make no law abridging or limiting the free exercise of the right of thought and of expression and of the Press, except …”
- is reasonably required in the interests of defence (sic), public safety, public order, public morality or public health;
- is reasonably required for the purpose of
- protecting the reputations and rights of other persons
- or the private lives of persons concerned in legal proceedings;
- preventing the disclosure of information received in confidence;
- maintaining the authority and independence of the courts;
- regulating public exhibitions or public entertainments; or
- that imposes restrictions upon public officers or members of a disciplined force.
- It shall be a criminal offence (sic) for any individual, political party, or any other association of persons to advocate or seek the violent overthrow of the constitutionally elected Government of Grenada.
(Chapter 11 Sub. 16)
Coming from a tradition where freedom of speech seems to be almost absolute, this tickled a few brain cells.
So the government can limit free expression and the press if it is in the interests of public morality? Who defines public morality? I have heard that you can be fined for immodesty here, but I guess this backs up the hear-say.
So the government can limit a free press if someone’s reputations and rights are on the line? The rights I can see, the reputation not so much. For example, if a person swindles money from government coffers, then publishing the facts would tarnish that person’s reputation. But isn’t one of the main functions of the press keeping politicians accountable? Argue with me. I dare ya.
A few of these make some sense. Oddly enough, the last one most of all. Grenada has had its share of bloody coups.
The more I look, the happier I am that I am digging through all this Constitutional craziness. Stay tuned for more.