Fiji Order An Attempt to Censor the Media, Says IFJ

The International Federation of

Journalists (IFJ) urges journalists in Fiji not be discouraged by the

interim Attorney-General’s instruction to the media to stop reporting on events

of perceived “non-issue”.

 

Interim Attorney-General Aiyaz

Sayed-Khaiyum reportedly said in a press conference this week that Fiji’s mainstream

media should not publish articles based on speculation after former Commerce

Commission chairman Charles Sweeney was removed from office.

 

In a letter to the

Attorney-General, Sweeney challenged

the powers of Sayed-Khaiyum to remove him from the commission.

 

According to local media reports, Sweeney claimed that his removal was linked to an

inquiry his office was conducting into Fiji’s telecommunications industry.

 

Sweeney,

who currently lives in Australia, also reportedly said the only circumstances under

which the Attorney-General could dismiss him were on grounds of “misbehaviour, incompetence,

incapacity” or “failure to comply with the obligations not to participate in a

decision in which the member has a pecuniary interest”.

 

“Journalists worldwide have a

responsibility to keep watch on the happenings of government and associated authorities

and commissions in the name of the public interest,”

IFJ Asia-Pacific Director Jacqueline

Park said.

 

“Instructions by government

ministers on what constitutes an issue or non-issue of public interest can be regarded

as an attempt to censor the press.”

 

The IFJ reminds the interim

Attorney-General and all political figures in Fiji that statements aimed at

shaping media coverage are a direct interference in the free flow of

information and a free press.

 

For further

information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +612 9333 0919

 

The IFJ

represents over 600,000 journalists in

120 countries worldwide