Fiji's attorney general, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, has taken another stab at the US 2009 Report on Fiji.
He maintains the report has anomalies and half-truths and cites as an example, the decision by the Government to revoke broadcasting licenses last year.
Says Sayed-Khaiyum: “What we did was that the spectrum license issued would be reviewed and all licenses issued in respect to the spectrum, not your ability to broadcast but your ability in respect to that spectrum would be reviewed,” he explained.
He says another anomaly concerned the media and how the Fiji Times Editor was given a suspended prison sentence and the company ordered to pay a fine.
Of that, he says: “The reality is they pleaded guilty. In fact the reality is we did not have a hearing per say because they did not challenge the charges that were laid against them. They obviously had a right of appeal which they choose not to exercise. This report does not say that. So it’s ofiscating the truth, ofiscating the reality on the ground."
Sayed-Khaiyum says a number of issues continue to concern him about the report.
“I think what’s unfortunate is that this report probably cannot keep pace with the changes made by the Bainimarama Government. I say that because the new Crimes Decree has been put into place, the Criminal Procedure Decree has been put into place, the Sentencing and Penalties Decree has been put into place.”
He says the Crimes Decree made Fiji compliant with international standards such as the Rome Statutes, the Rights of the Child and CEDAW.
“It’s a very, I would say, a light-weight report because it does not take account of the ground realties in Fiji, its not very forward looking and like I said, perhaps it cannot keep pace with the changes that are being brought about by the Bainimarama Government.”