The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joins
the Pacific Freedom Forum (PFF) in renewing calls
for Fiji’s military regime to end the Public Emergency Regulations (PER) and
Media Decree which regulate censorship in the country.
The IFJ’s demands follow a report released on September
7 by Sydney-based think tank the Lowy Institute for International Policy, reaffirming
citizens’ overwhelming support for freedom of expression and a media free from
The report, Fiji:
At Home and in the World,contains the results of a face-to-face opinion poll
conducted in Fiji between August 19 and 21, 2011 using a random sample of 1032
adults from Fiji’s main island Viti Levu.
In the report, 98 per cent of respondents either
strongly or partly agreed that it was important to have the right to free
expression. Similarly, 96 per cent either strongly or partly agreed in the
right to a media free from censorship.
The report also confirms that Fiji citizens remain unconvinced
that the media has become more reliable and trustworthy since the 2006 coup, despite
statements by Fiji Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum that the intention of
the Media Decree was to improve the quality of the local media. Fifty-five per cent
of those interviewed said the media’s performance now was either the same (31
per cent) or less reliable (24 per cent) since the coup.
joins the PFF in demanding that Fiji’s
regime recognise the role of a free and independent media in a sustainable
democracy,” IFJ Asia-Pacific
Director Jacqueline Park said.
“Fiji’s administration must honour its commitment
for a transition to full democratic rule by calling elections, and by repealing
the decree and regulations that restrain Fiji’s media.”
Industry Development Decree, introduced by the regime in June 2010,
permanently installed the sweeping censorship that had been in force in Fiji since the “temporary”
Public Emergency Regulations were imposed in April 2009.
Under the laws, the regime and its authorities decide what fair,
balanced and quality journalism is. The decree allows
officers authorised by a government appointed media authority and tribunal to
enter newsrooms and media offices to seize any documentation, materials or
equipment on the basis of vaguely defined complaints, or even where no formal
complaint has been laid.
of news reports have been censored by the tribunal since the regulations were
introduced in 2009. Self-censorship is also widespread in Fiji as a
result of the laws.
For further information contact IFJ
Asia-Pacific on +612 9333 0919
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