BAINIMARAMA WARNS AGAINST ‘IRRESPONSIBLE’ REPORTING

Recent stories were ‘threat to national security’

SUVA, Fiji (Fijilive, Feb. 26, 2008) - Fiji’s interim Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama has reassured the nation that media freedom is secure and guaranteed.

This follows heavy criticism leveled against the interim Government for deporting the publisher of the Fiji Sun, Russell Hunter, an Australian expatriate early this morning.

In a statement just released from the department of Information, Bainimarama said the media has behaved irresponsibly without due regard to freedom of the media.

"The performance of the media recently leaves much to be desired. Some of its reporting has been insightful and destabilizing and therefore a threat to national security and stability."

The media must therefore do all it can to assist in the process of nation building to ensure that our citizens have access to quality news content, that they are informed accurately by a media that is intent to building bridges rather than sowing discontent and discord in name of media freedom.

He said while the Government’s commitment to media freedom stands, the media must recognize that there are limitations to constitutional guarantees on media freedom and freedom of the press.

The media he said are well aware of these limitations.

"This freedom must therefore be exercised carefully in ensuring that our citizens are informed in a balanced, accurate and truthful manner. The media must strive to maintain this at all times.

He added the interim Government will not deviate from achieving the mandate given to it by the President and will work hard to maintain law and order and national peace and stability.

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