Pacific Journalists Offer to Discuss Media Freedoms in Fiji

The International

Federation of Journalists (IFJ) welcomes an offer made by Pacific journalists

to visit Fiji

to discuss fair and balanced reporting and media freedoms with the country’s

military regime.


IFJ project associate the Pacific Freedom Forum (PFF)

made the offer in the wake of a May 31 statement by Fiji’s Information

secretary Sharon Smith-Johns calling on all journalists there to “Think Fiji

first” and report in a “fair and balanced way”.


“Fair and balanced reporting can only come when

journalists and media workers have the freedom to report, which is impossible at

present under the terms of Fiji’s Media Decree,” IFJ

Asia-Pacific Director Jacqueline Park said.


“The IFJ welcomes this initiative by Pacific

journalists to engage with Fiji’s

regime and fellow journalists working there, in an open discussion of these

significant issues that affect the country’s media industry.


“We hope Fijian authorities will accept the invitation

and constructively engage with the journalists who have put forward this



The “Think Fiji first” call came in the wake of

reporting over the May defection to Tonga by former regime and military insider

Ratu Tevita Mara, son of the nation’s founding Prime Minister.


Other developments in recent weeks have shown how the

Media Industry Development Decree is taking its toll. The Fiji Times website, averaging three quarters of a million hits

a month, went offline without explanation on April 18 before coming back online

on May 30.


Managing Editor

Fred Wesley confirmed that the need to meet the requirements of the decree had

forced the site’s suspension, Pacific Scoop

reported. Under

the decree, stories of more than 50 words must have a “byline” naming the

writer of the story, and pictures must be captioned and identify the source of

the image. The website now includes these features.


Meanwhile, decree clauses on cross-media ownership have

also made uncertain times for jobs in the industry. Employees for Mai Life magazine are anxiously awaiting

a looming deadline, believed to be at the end of June, when Judith Ragg must

relinquish her founding stake in the magazine, because her husband Richard

Broadbridge heads broadcast channel Mai TV.



For further

information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific

on +61 2 9333 0919



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