FIJI REGIME: CENSORSHIP LAWS IMPROVE

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JOURNALISM
Military leader confirms he has no plans to lift media
restrictions

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, May 4, 2011) - Fiji's military government says its censorship laws have actually improved the standard of journalism in the country.

The military regime is reportedly still blocking public meetings that do not support government interests, while the Ministry of Information has staff in Fiji newsrooms to ensure media outlets comply with the media laws

The Ministry's acting deputy permanent secretary, Setaita Natai, has told Radio Australia's Pacific Beat Program, there is not that much overt censorship of the media.

"The prime minister and also the minister for information have reiterated so many times that media organizations need not be pro-government but to be pro-Fiji," she said.

Ms Natai says her staff have actually been able to help journalists in Fiji do a better job.

"I believe the journalists themselves have won from this style of writing. Whether it’s got to do with censor or whether it’s got to do with responsible journalism is something that perhaps we will have to really find out."

In April, Fiji's interim Prime Minister, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, confirmed there were no plans to lift the strict media restrictions imposed in 2009.

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