Federation of Journalists (IFJ) welcomes an offer made by Pacific journalists
to visit Fiji
to discuss fair and balanced reporting and media freedoms with the country’s
IFJ project associate the Pacific Freedom Forum (PFF)
made the offer in the wake of a May 31 statement by Fiji’s Information
secretary Sharon Smith-Johns calling on all journalists there to “Think Fiji
first” and report in a “fair and balanced way”.
“Fair and balanced reporting can only come when
journalists and media workers have the freedom to report, which is impossible at
present under the terms of Fiji’s Media Decree,” IFJ
Asia-Pacific Director Jacqueline Park said.
“The IFJ welcomes this initiative by Pacific
journalists to engage with Fiji’s
regime and fellow journalists working there, in an open discussion of these
significant issues that affect the country’s media industry.
“We hope Fijian authorities will accept the invitation
and constructively engage with the journalists who have put forward this
The “Think Fiji first” call came in the wake of
reporting over the May defection to Tonga by former regime and military insider
Ratu Tevita Mara, son of the nation’s founding Prime Minister.
Other developments in recent weeks have shown how the
Media Industry Development Decree is taking its toll. The Fiji Times website, averaging three quarters of a million hits
a month, went offline without explanation on April 18 before coming back online
on May 30.
Fred Wesley confirmed that the need to meet the requirements of the decree had
forced the site’s suspension, Pacific Scoop
the decree, stories of more than 50 words must have a “byline” naming the
writer of the story, and pictures must be captioned and identify the source of
the image. The website now includes these features.
Meanwhile, decree clauses on cross-media ownership have
also made uncertain times for jobs in the industry. Employees for Mai Life magazine are anxiously awaiting
a looming deadline, believed to be at the end of June, when Judith Ragg must
relinquish her founding stake in the magazine, because her husband Richard
Broadbridge heads broadcast channel Mai TV.
information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific
on +61 2 9333 0919
represents more than 600,000 journalists in 131 countries
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