Global press freedom organisations have denounced plans for a state-controlled council to oversee the media in Bermuda — while local journalists are calling for a rethink of the idea.
Premier Ewart Brown tabled a bill in the House of Assembly on May 7 which purports to be for the creation of an "independent media council" but which would consist of a majority of members appointed on his recommendation.
The Royal Gazette sent copies of the proposed legislation — which could be debated and passed by MPs as soon as Friday — to overseas media bodies, as well as politicians, journalists and others on the Island.
Lucy Dalglish, executive director of the US-based Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, said: "Excuse me, but is this a joke? There are so many problems with this proposed legislation it makes my head swim.
"Forget about Bermuda having a free press. This is a censorship regime. Is that what citizens really want? A government-sponsored council that can restrict the information they receive?"
International Press Institute director David Dadge described the Media Council Act 2010 as "quite poor".
He said: "It seems to be largely an attempt at political control of what should be an independent media."
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