#header-inner img {margin: 0 auto !important; #header-inner {text-align: Center ;} Fiji Coupfourpointfive: Imprisonment and heavy fines sanctioned in new Fiji decree

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Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Imprisonment and heavy fines sanctioned in new Fiji decree

As expected the interim government is proposing a Media Industry Development Authority, saying it's needed to ensure high standards of performance and to ensure that material which is against public interest or order are not broadcast or publicised.

All material must also carry a byline with news organisations facing a fine of up to half a million Fiji dollars or a fine of up to $100,000 Fijian dollars if the code is breached.

The decree also paves the way for publishers, editors and journalists to be jailed for up to five years for breaches.

As predicted, a tribunal would be established to hear compalints from the public, public officers or Cabinet Ministers.

Media organisations would need to be registered and require 90 per cent ownership by a Fijian citizen. Cross media ownership will also be monitored with a five per cent non-voting interest only, allowed in any other media organisation.

The Draft Media Decree says the Media Industry Development Authority will:
ensure that nothing is included in the content of any media service which is against public interest or order , or national interest, or which offends against good taste or deceny and creates communal discord.

This is very broad so it will be interesting to see what kind of stories come under this criteria. Censors are already stopping the publication of stories which make the interim government look bad; eg water and power cuts and bad road conditions leading to pot holes.

This clause really means any stories which the interim regime doesn't like because it exposes them or shows that they're not doing a good job, is not in their interest and offends them as it creates communal discord.

No proceedings, civil or criminal, shall lie against the Authority for anything it may do or fail to do in the course of the exercise or intended exercise of its functions, unless it is shown that it did not act in good faith or without reasonable care.

So basically what the Authority rules on a journalist or media organisation is Gospel and it cannot be sued. Lawyers know that it is hard to prove that an organisation or person did not act in good faith.

Every media organisation that provides or intends to provide media services in Fiji must be registered...

A media organisation is registered when the proprietor deposits with the Authority an affidavit or affidavits duly sworn and signed by the proprietor.

In all civil or criminal proccedings relating to any media organisation, an affidavit deposited under section 31 is conclusive evidence against every person signing it of the truth of its contents.

This means a media organisation will have to swear that it will follow by the rules and if it doesn't the Authority will be able to use the affidavit against them in a court.

In every media organisation - up to 10% of the beneficial ownership of any share or shares in a company or any interest ... may be owned by foreign persons but at least 90% ... must be owned by citizens of Fiji permanently residing in Fiji

A person who does not fall within the class ...respectively must resign or divest themselves of any directorship or ownership interest within three months from the commencement of this Decree

It will be interesting to see what will happen to the Fiji Times. Who will buy the shares, local businessman or the Government?

Read the full Draft Media Decree

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

What the hell is this? Are this guys dumb or what? They belong in the stone age da bloody idiots.

Anonymous said...

Pah donkeys crap - Q: who do they think they are fooling ? A: themselves

Fast track to Zimbabwe said...

Fiji is now an investment no go area.
For the kids of Fiji - no jobs - no future. No wonder poverty is increasing so alarmingly under this useless military regime since the 2006 coup.
Junta on the road to zimbabwe!

Clueless Clauses said...

Military Hierarchy Arrests Itself

The Fiji military hierarchy passed the Fiji Media Decree earlier today and immediately arrested itself for breaching Clause 37, concerning cross media ownership. In its attempt to arrest anybody who has ever printed anything at any time in Fiji, the FMF drafted the clause to forbid various classes of people from owning, or being associated with people who owned, different media.

Banned from owning shares in more than one medium were persons, their spouses, their parents, children, brothers, sisters, partners, partner’s spouses, partner’s spouses’ children, associates of partners, associates of partners’ spouses, associates of partners’ spouses’ children, relatives of associates of partners’ spouses and several other classes of human presently unidentified by anthropologists.

Once checks had been carried out by the Information Department, it was found that 3,347 of the FMF’s 3,348 employees were all in breach of the decree. Fortunately the Prime Minister, who is a complete bastard and therefore unrelated to anyone, was exempt from the arrests.

The Attorney General expressed satisfaction at the number of arrests saying, ‘Those in flagrant breach of the cross ownership clause will be subjected to the full brunt of the law. We must make an example of these people, therefore I will be recommending that the maximum fine of $100,000 be imposed for each violation.’

Consensus was that as a result of the likely convictions, Fiji would be able to clear its national debt within weeks.

In other news today, media mogul Rupert Murdoch took advantage of Fiji’s recently relaxed citizenship laws to take out dual US/ Fiji citizenship in order to enable him to remain owner of the Fiji Times. The new requirement for 90% local ownership passed by the recent media decree had previously been seen as a stumbling block to Murdoch’s attempt to take over the government by stealth. Now, with most of the competition behind bars, Murdoch has discarded the idea of stealth and has taken out several full page advertisements in The Sun to declare that he will be standing for dictator against the sole remaining member of the FMF who is not incarcerated.

Anonymous said...

"90% ownership by a Fijian citizen."

So where does this leave a foreign owned company such as News Corp?
(Fiji Times).

Declaring war on the Lotu was dumb - this is dumber.

Anonymous said...

are your expected to read the Media decree in 2 and a half hours??? how the hell he came up with that time allocations??

Anonymous said...

1. Destroy the Moral Fabric of Fiji

2. Undermine the Family

3. Destroy the Economy and the Value of the Dollar

4. Denigrate Patriotism and a National Sense of Purpose.

5. Control the Media to Promote All of the Above.

Anonymous said...

The media decree is not worth the paper it is written on. Only good for toilet paper.

Anonymous said...

sharia law here we come!!! The methodist church might as well bend over right now.

Anonymous said...

We have been hearing about the red shirts in recent days. Can't imagine them putting up with this. Anti-government activity all around the world, read and see on BBC and CNN, but not Fiji. How come? Are we that embedded in our faith or that resigned to the miseries brought down onn us by Commodore and Sayed-Khaiyum. We on the Roadmap to disaster.

Anonymous said...

Enough is ENOUGH... Get ready people... Stock up and stand by for TOOLS DOWN!!! LET'S SEE HOW LONG THEY CAN LAST with a handful of second rate soldiers and third grade N/M police officers. The first class ones of both forces are just as fed up as everyone else with this bunch of Sodomers and Gommorans!!!

Anonymous said...

Go Fiji BLUEZ...On the day it all started, it will all end...So prepare you faithful patriots...