The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) demands the Fijian military show respect for the media and journalist safety, as reports about increased tension and rough treatment of journalists in the Fijian capital sparked fears of an imminent military coup.
According to IFJ sources in Fiji, the military surrounded Prime Minister Laisenai Qarase’s residence earlier today and forcefully removed journalists from the area.
“Although there have been no reports of injured journalists, as hostility increases in the capital the military must be conscious of the safety of journalists and allow the media to report freely and independently,” the IFJ President Christopher Warren.
“Yesterday’s closure of the Fiji Daily Post head office in Suva, in response to violent threats from the Fijian military, sets a worrying precedent for press freedom under military rule,” said the president of the IFJ, the organisation representing more than 500,000 journalists in over 115 countries.
“As tensions in Fiji continue to increase, journalists must be allowed full access to all areas and facts in order to maintain an informed and aware Fijian public and international community, and prevent panic and uncertainty,” Warren said.
“The IFJ strongly urges Commodore Frank Bainimarama to make a commitment to press freedom and understand that a free, secure and independent media is vital to a peaceful outcome for Fiji,” the IFJ president said.
The IFJ is continuing to monitor the developments in Fiji closely.
For more information please contact IFJ Asia Pacific +61 2 9333 0919
The IFJ represents more than 500,000 journalists in over 115 countries