The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) condemns
the Fiji military regime’s
extension of strict media censorship and emergency regulations, saying the regime’s
effort to stamp out public discussion is undermining all fundamental rights of
the people of Fiji.
Under the emergency rules, initially
imposed in April, the media is forbidden to publish or broadcast anything
negative about the regime. Censors are now posted in all media outlets.
“The attempt by Fiji’s military leaders to eliminate any
opportunity for free expression are denying journalists their right to report
in the public interest and the right of the people of Fiji to know what is
going on in their society,” IFJ General
Secretary Aidan White said.
Regime spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel
Neumi Leweni said yesterday that the Defence Ministry would prolong the
regulations today by 30 days, according to a report on Coup Four and a Half, a
blog dedicated to providing information from Fiji.
“The absence of politics from the
national agenda . . . is contributing positively to the peace and stability of
the nation,” he said in a statement.
On April 10, President Ratu Josefa Iloilo abrogated Fiji’s Constitution
and reappointed Frank Bainimarama as prime minister, following an appeals court
ruling that a 2006 coup led by Bainimarama was illegal. Bainimarama immediately
imposed emergency regulations for 30 days, which were extended in May until
The IFJ is deeply concerned that the regime intends to
maintain its strict censorship for the longer term, after Leweni is reported to
have already warned local journalists to be mindful of the emergency
regulations if they attend a long-scheduled meeting of the Asia Pacific
Institute for Broadcast Development in Suva
on July 20-23.
The IFJ appeals to the international community to continue to urge the Bainimarama
regimeto end all media censorship in Fiji and to reinstitute the rights
of people to access information and to speak freely, in accordance with the
United Nations Declaration of Human Rights.
further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific
on +612 9333 0919
The IFJ represents
over 600,000 journalists in 120 countries