FIJI MEDIA BEING MUZZLED

‘Requested’ to refrain from negative reporting

SUVA, Fiji (Fijilive, April 12, 2009) – Local media have been requested to refrain from publishing stories that negatively depicts the actions of Fiji’s President over the last few days.

This new direction was related to the media last night and immediately resulted in the deletion of certain articles.

Only a day earlier, editors of Fiji’s media were told to refrain from publishing or airing items that may be inciting to the law and order situation in the country following the purported abrogation of the 1997 Constitution by President Ratu Josefa Iloilo on Friday.

A new legal order announced by Ratu Iloilo, now Head of State, has led to the promulgation of the Public Emergency Regulations 2009.

Under section 16 (1) of the regulation, if the "Permanent Secretary for Information has reason to believe that any broadcast or publication may give rise to disorder and may thereby cause undue demands to be made upon the police of the armed forces, or may result in a breach of the peace, or promote disaffection or public alarm, or undermine the Government and the State of Fiji, he or she may, by order, prohibit such broadcast or publication".

Information PS Major Neumi Leweni, in a letter to the media, has since requested all outlets to "immediately refrain from publishing and broadcasting any news item that is negative in nature, relating to the assumption of executive authority on 10 April by his Excellency the President, and the subsequent appointments of the Prime Minister and Cabinet Ministers".

Section 3 of the PER states that "any person or entity which fails in any way whatsoever to comply with the provisions of this section may be ordered by the Commissioner of Police of Officer Commanding upon advice from the Permanent Secretary for Information to cease all activities and operations".

In complying with the provisions of the PER and request of the Information PS, Fijilive has had to withdraw certain articles today.

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