IFJ Supports Fiji Citizens’ Calls for Press Freedom

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joins

the Pacific Freedom Forum (PFF) in renewing calls

for Fiji’s military regime to end the Public Emergency Regulations (PER) and

Media Decree which regulate censorship in the country.


The IFJ’s demands follow a report released on September

7 by Sydney-based think tank the Lowy Institute for International Policy, reaffirming


citizens’ overwhelming support for freedom of expression and a media free from



The report, Fiji:

At Home and in the World,contains the results of a face-to-face opinion poll

conducted in Fiji between August 19 and 21, 2011 using a random sample of 1032

adults from Fiji’s main island Viti Levu.


In the report, 98 per cent of respondents either

strongly or partly agreed that it was important to have the right to free

expression. Similarly, 96 per cent either strongly or partly agreed in the

right to a media free from censorship.


The report also confirms that Fiji citizens remain unconvinced

that the media has become more reliable and trustworthy since the 2006 coup, despite

statements by Fiji Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum that the intention of

the Media Decree was to improve the quality of the local media. Fifty-five per cent

of those interviewed said the media’s performance now was either the same (31

per cent) or less reliable (24 per cent) since the coup.


“The IFJ

joins the PFF in demanding that Fiji’s

regime recognise the role of a free and independent media in a sustainable

democracy,” IFJ Asia-Pacific

Director Jacqueline Park said.


“Fiji’s administration must honour its commitment

for a transition to full democratic rule by calling elections, and by repealing

the decree and regulations that restrain Fiji’s media.”


The Media

Industry Development Decree, introduced by the regime in June 2010,

permanently installed the sweeping censorship that had been in force in Fiji since the “temporary”

Public Emergency Regulations were imposed in April 2009.


Under the laws, the regime and its authorities decide what fair,

balanced and quality journalism is. The decree allows

officers authorised by a government appointed media authority and tribunal to

enter newsrooms and media offices to seize any documentation, materials or

equipment on the basis of vaguely defined complaints, or even where no formal

complaint has been laid.



of news reports have been censored by the tribunal since the regulations were

introduced in 2009. Self-censorship is also widespread in Fiji as a

result of the laws.


          For further information contact IFJ

Asia-Pacific on +612 9333 0919



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