#header-inner img {margin: 0 auto !important; #header-inner {text-align: Center ;} Fiji Coupfourpointfive: IFJ applauds release of journalists

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

IFJ applauds release of journalists

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is relieved to learn that two journalists detained without charge in Fiji since May 9 were released.

However, the IFJ once again condemns the draconian censorship being applied by Fiji’s military regime, which has posted Department of Information censors in all news outlets.

Dionisia Turagabeci and Shelvin Chand, journalists with Fijilive, were detained after the independent online news service posted a report about the release under a Compulsory Supervision Order of eight soldiers and one police officer jailed for manslaughter.

Sources report that the news item included comments from a civil society leader who voiced concern at the early release of the nine.

Turagabeci and Chand were detained under emergency regulations brought in by 2006 coup leader Frank Bainimarama after the abrogation of the country’s constitution on April 10. The 30-day regulations were renewed last week until June 10.

The New Zealand-based Coupfourpointfive news blog reported sources as saying that the Fijilive news item was viewed by a censor before being posted. However, an officer at the Police Command Centre – believed to be a member of a team monitoring online news content – called Fijilive and ordered the report be taken down.

Sources say Fijilive removed the report, but the officer failed to refresh the webpage and believed the order had been ignored.

The two journalists were subsequently detained and held at Suva’s Central Police Station. They were reportedly denied visitors and access to a lawyer.

Their detention follows earlier temporary detentions of Fiji Television journalist Edwin Nand and Pacnews journalist Pita Ligaula.

“The military regime’s strict censorship is not only preventing journalists from doing their jobs and reporting in the public interest at a critical time for Fiji,” IFJ general secretary Aidan White said.

“Censors appear to be caught in a guessing game to determine what Bainimarama means when he calls for ‘journalism of hope’, and are making ad hoc decisions that make it impossible for journalists and the media to know the limits to which the regime will go to deny information to the people of Fiji.”

The IFJ again calls on Fiji’s military leaders to recognise the harm that is being done to Fiji, and to act now to restore the rights of journalists to report in the public interest.

The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists in 120 countries worldwide.

International Federation of Journalists - Pacific Media Watch

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The PER is a cover up for their misdeeds, corruption, thievery, nepotism, cronyism etc., It has nothing to do with fair and balanced reporting. They don't want the truth of their misdeeds being reported far & wide. If the stupid, lame-brain, incompetent dictator and his equally stupid, lame-brain, incompetent AG says that Fiji is supportive of their actions, then remove the PER and allow the people to have their say in a free and fair manner. Only then will they be able to gauge correctly the people's attitude.

They hauled in 2 journalists recently for reporting the truth regarding the release of the regime's murderers citing the PER. Yet they didn't so much as squeak when Mahendra Chaudhary criticised the illegal regime on an overseas talk-show. Why? Is it because that Chaudhary has Frank "Mugabe" Bainimarama riding in his back-pocket? If so, then that shows them up for the corrupt coward that he really is. In it for the money, make hay while the sun shines etc., Or maybe MPC has got him by the proverbials, who knows? It has nothing to do with Fiji as a nation. It's all to do with a power hungary dictator who, having come into this position of power, has absolutely no idea how to handle it. So he relies on his team of losers who have no idea also of what to do. They play to Frank Mugabe Bainimarama's whims and fantasies and end up being yes-men. No backbone, the bloody lot. They don't give 2 hoots that we are headed towards economic ruin. Frank "Mugabe" Bainimarama is more concerned about saving his own thick skin than anything else.