Contradictory Opinions Mark World Press Freedom Day In Fiji

Opposition MPs critical of restrictions; Media Assocation says 'conditions have come a long way'

By Tevita Vuibau

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, May 3, 2017) –  The Fiji Media Association says journalists in Fiji are free to carry out their work and conditions have come a long way from those experienced in past political upheavals.

FMA president Nemani Delaibatiki made the comment yesterday on the eve of World Press Freedom Day.

Delaibatiki said Fiji joined other countries around the world to celebrate the fundamental principles of media freedom and the independence of the media.

"We also pay tribute to journalists who have been hurt or lost their lives in the line of duty throughout the world," he said

"We should treasure and protect our media freedom because it is all our freedom."

Leader of the Opposition Ro Teimumu Kepa said yesterday there was a need for local media practitioners to heed the theme of World Press Freedom Day, "Critical Minds for Critical Times: Media's Role in Advancing Peaceful, Just and Inclusive Societies".

"I say this fully aware of the great challenges bona fide journalists face in this country," Ro Teimumu said

"Keep asking the difficult follow up questions and ask why. Why are new mothers in our hospitals forced to sleep on the floor for lack of beds?"

Ro Teimumu also said questions needed to be asked on why students still took classes in tents while Government was able to spend millions on arms and golf tournaments.

National Federation Party leader Professor Biman Prasad also made a statement on the celebration of World Media Freedom Day, saying an NFP government would repeal the Media Industry Development Decree.

Prof Prasad said the NFP would also ensure taxpayer funds were justifiably used by spreading advertisements by Government and statutory organisations across all media outlets.

He said funding for Public Service Broadcast would also be distributed to all mainstream broadcast and television media.

Prof Prasad said the Media Decree had led to self-censorship being practised in newsrooms.

"While the promulgation of the Media Industry Development Decree in 2010 ended State's presence in the newsrooms and direct censorship, self-censorship is being practised in most newsrooms with journalists awaiting responses from Government before publishing and broadcasting any statement by the Opposition," Prof Prasad said.

"Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states, 'Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression. This right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through the media regardless of frontiers'.

"This freedom and right is reposed in the people, which the State and politicians must respect at all times," he said.

Fiji Times Online.
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Our Journalists are either removed or moved to other duties for asking questions of national interest to our politicians.Two examples are Anish Chand and Shanal Shivan.What media freedom ? MIDA,Fiji Sun and state owned Fiji Sun are biased and Govt. Mouthpiece .Fiji Times has been charged for criminal offense for publishing something which is true.If facts and balanced reports are seen as crimes,than where is Media freedom.MIDA chief is quick to investigate complaints lodged by the state.It sees fit for FBC to broadcast racist comments,and defends FBC rather than taking action .The media is intimidated by MIDA which is supposed to uphold fairness and factual reporting.The mainstream media has lost the confidence of locals and are now turning to FACEBOOK for quick,accurate(mostly)reporting of events,news,and pictures.

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