The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has slammed the Fijian government for the detainment and deportation of deporting a New Zealand journalist as an attack on the freedom of the press.
According to local reports, Fairfax journalist Michael Field was detained on arrival at Suva airport and informed he had been “blacklisted”, before being deported several hours later on June 15.
Field, who arrived in Fiji to cover the diplomatic crisis resulting from Fiji's decision to expel New Zealand's high commissioner, was reportedly deported in response the government’s unhappiness over critical stories he had earlier written on the military-imposed Fijian government.
“The blacklisting arrest and deportation of a foreign journalists strikes at the heart of democracy and a free media,” IFJ Asia-Pacific Director Jacqueline Park said.
According to IFJ New Zealand affiliate, the Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union (EPMU), this was an action clearly calculated to intimidate and silence voices critical of the regime.
“Intimidation towards foreign and local journalists in Fiji is unacceptable and raises genuine concerns about the government’s commitment to a free press and democratic society,” Park said.
“In promoting democracy in the country, the Fijian government must allow journalists to move freely, and report without fear or favour.”
For further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +61 2 9333 0919
The IFJ represents over 500,000 journalists in more than 115 countries