IFJ Welcomes Admission of Barred Media on Fiji Consultation

 

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) welcomes

reports that Fiji’s interim government has said it will permit the Fiji Times and Fiji Television to participate in consultations on a government-devised

Media Decree, after initially barring the two media outlets from the process.

 

The move,

announced by interim

attorney-generalAiyaz

Sayed-Khaiyum during a press conference on March 30, follows the administration extending its emergency regulations by one

month to the end of April.

 

The regime

of Commodore Frank Bainimarama is reported to have said it will lift the

regulations once the Media Industry Development Decree 2010 is finalised.

 

The

regulations, enforced almost a year ago on April 10, 2009 as a “temporary”

measure, have imposed sweeping censorship in Fiji, with official censors and

police placed in newsrooms. 

 

The Fiji Times and Fiji Television, among other organisations, said they would appreciate seeing copies of

the draft decree in order to inform their response.

 

“The IFJ

remains concerned about the administration’s intentions regarding the role of

the Media Decree in relation to independent media, in view of statements that

the government would only repeal the emergency regulations after the Media

Decree is finalised,” IFJ General Secretary Aidan

White said.

 

“The IFJ

therefore strongly encourages the administration to ensure all relevant

stakeholders are able to participate in consultation on the decree, without

fear or favour, and that the environment for discussion allows for the airing

of open and constructive feedback, whether positive or negative.

 

“A

reasonable amount of time must be permitted for this important community

process.”

 

In a

statement on March 16, the IFJ called on the interim government to ensure all stakeholders

are given the opportunity and adequate time to provide input on the decree. The public consultation had been scheduled

to begin that day but was postponed as Fiji contended with a

cyclone. 

 

Latest reports are that interested parties must register to

participate in the consultations on the decree by April 6, with the

consultations to be held in different locations on April 7, 8 and 10.

 

For further

information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific

on +612 9333 0919

 

The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists

in 125 countries worldwide