Media Freedom Doesn’t Include ‘Hate Speech’: Fiji AG

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Media Freedom Doesn’t Include ‘Hate Speech’: Fiji AG Sayed-Khaiyum decries efforts to incite violence, racial hatred

SUVA, Fiji (Fijilive, March 19, 2015) – We celebrate media freedom, but not the right of the media to disseminate hate speeches, says Fiji's Attorney General and Minister for Justice Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum.

Addressing recommendations on media freedom at the 28th session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva yesterday, Sayed-Khaiyum says the country celebrates "freedom of expression, but not freedom to incite violence or racial hatred against others." He claims the media "played a pivotal and negative role" in Fiji's "historical past of racism, and religious prejudice" which cannot be allowed to happen again.

To this end, he says government is working with the media through the Media Industry Development Authority (MIDA), "to encourage the media to work towards a development model of media freedom - one in which the media plays an important part in building a just and equal society." "We reiterate that the constitution unequivocally recognises freedom of the press as pivotal to freedom of speech, expression, thought, opinion and publication," Sayed-Khaiyum said.

"We are creating an environment of equality and we cannot allow racism and religious chauvinism to undermine the preeminent right to equality."

He further informed the council that no media organisation has been prosecuted for any editorial content, not has any journalist been prosecuted under the media decree.

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