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Media restrictions in Fiji analysed by Amnesty International

Commodore, Prime Minister, and chief restrictor of media freedom, Voreqe Bainimarama.

Pacific Scoop:
Report – By PMC Newsdesk.

Amnesty International has taken a staunch position against Fiji’s military government, stating that a new law that came into effect on June 25 will further restrict Fiji’s fourth estate from doing its job.

In the report Amnesty International states the new law delivers another blow to media in Fiji, and reasons that “Despite the Government’s amendment of the draconian draft decree, journalists can still be imprisoned for being critical of the Government”. The Fiji Times has also been given an ultimatum to get rid of its owner Rupert Murdoch or be shut down.

Fiji’s journalists continue to have their reports scrutinised by the military regime’s censors. Newspapers, radio, television broadcasts, and internet news is scanned to ensure the news has a positive slant, favouring this regime.

Some journalists have been attempting to beat the censors by publishing critical reports to the internet, only to have the items noted by the government and ordered to be removed.

And in a move to ensure Fiji’s media companies are majority-owned by Fijians or Fiji, the Fiji Times has just three months to comply or be shut down. (See the 3News report.)

Amnesty International states: “Despite the Government’s amendment of the draconian draft decree, journalists can still be imprisoned for being critical of the Government.”

In a statement, Patrick Holmes, CEO of Amnesty International Aotearoa New Zealand, said: “The past actions of the Fijian Government have shown that it does not have any real commitment to upholding media freedom.

“Amnesty International fears that the decree’s vaguely worded provisions will be used to punish peaceful critics of the Government,” Holmes said.