An independent journalist in Vanuatu says the new criminal defamation law is a ill-considered legislative overstep that will have negative human rights implications in the long-term.
On the 27th of April parliamentarians voted to change defamation from a civil liability to a criminal offense.
The law was gazetted and entered into force last week.
Dan McGarry, says the law change was made in response to public concerns about abusive and defamatory comments on social media.
But he says the government did not do enough research or consultation and the resulting law is a huge blow to freedom of speech in Vanuatu.