Pacific Scoop

Political parties media blackout before Fiji polling day

Republika elections issue

Part of Repúblika magazine’s elections guide issue cover. Image: Repúblika

Pacific Scoop:
Report – By Avinesh Gopal and Pacific Media Watch

The main polling day for the Fiji general election is just three days away. With 591,095 registered voters, the 2014 election started two weeks ago with pre-polling in outer islands, the highlands and other places.

pacificfijielections logo 200widePre-polling in the Northern Division ended on Thursday, and on Friday afternoon in the Eastern Division.

It ended in the Central Division later yesterday and at one venue in the Western Division on Monday.

But the majority of voters are looking forward to the main polling day on Wednesday, which has been declared a public holiday by the government to ensure voters have their say in electing the new government.

Candidates vying for a parliamentary seat in the general election are expected to end their campaigns tonight.

The Fijian Elections Office has put in place a blackout period from 7.30am Monday to the close of polling at 6pm on Wednesday.

It means that between these times, the Fiji media is not allowed to report on any political activity or publish/broadcast advertisements for election candidates.

Electoral activity
But, the Fijian Elections Office says the media can report on electoral activity such as messages from the Supervisor of Elections, Electoral Commission and the Multinational Observer Group.

“The blackout period does not apply to media coverage of the administrative aspects of the general election,” says the FEO’s media guidelines.

However, during the blackout period, any publication or broadcast by any media organisation relating to the election needs the prior approval of the Media Industry Development Authority to ensure compliance with Section 118 of the Electoral Decree 2014.

There are other guidelines for the media on reporting as the nation counts down to the main polling day on September 17.

Fijian Elections Office