#header-inner img {margin: 0 auto !important; #header-inner {text-align: Center ;} Fiji Coupfourpointfive: Pressure grows for media decree to be dropped

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Pressure grows for media decree to be dropped

Criticism of the illegal government's proposed media decree is growing, with Amnesty International and the New Zealand Labour Party the latest to denounce the plan as draconian.

"The Fijian government is giving itself a license to imprison or bankrupt its critics," says Amnesty International's Pacific Researcher, Apolosi Bose. "The decree will further restrain the media from reporting government and military abuses, for fear of reprisals through a kangaroo court."

"Fijian journalists have already been intimidated, threatened and assaulted by the military since media censorship was authorised in April 2009. Now they could face up to five years in jail or fines big enough shut down a media outlet, through a complaints system controlled by government and not bound by formal rules of evidence."

Amnesty International believes the decree's vaguely worded provisions will be interpreted with a view to punishing peaceful critics of the government.

"Going by past experience, the decree's generic references to national interest and public order simply mean that the media will not be allowed to criticise Fiji's leaders, members of the security forces, or their supporters and associates," says Bose.

The New Zealand Labour Party has also spoken out against the tough new media policies, with its Foreign Affairs spokesperson, Chris Carter, calling on the junta to abandon the plan.

In a statement Carter says: “The New Zealand Labour Party wants to see Fijian democracy restored as soon as possible. A free press is fundamental to any healthy functioning democracy. This draft proposal will see the end of any real press freedom in our Pacific neighbour.

"The Media Industry Development Decree will take editorial decisions away from journalists and place them in the hands of the military regime. It will also see foreign-owned media confiscated; a move clearly aimed at muzzling the Fiji Times, which has been critical of the present regime.

"The decree has been condemned around the world as a backwards step that will hurt the Fijian people and further rob them of their human rights. This is a view shared by Labour.

"Since assuming power in a coup in 2006, Fiji’s military rulers have continually demonstrated contempt for democracy by ratcheting up their control over the Fijian people. We’ve seen democratic elections ruled out until at least 2014, we’ve seen respected leaders of the Methodist Church threatened and arrested, and now we’re seeing unprecedented control forced upon local news media.

"This attack on press freedom will only hurt ordinary Fijians and further isolate the Bainimarama regime from the Pacific and the rest of the world."-Sources Pacific Media Watch and Pacific Scoop


Lord Haw Haw of Horowhenua said...

The dictator and his human rights abusing regime are becoming increasingly fearful. They know what is coming to them. This latest decree from the illegal AG hyper active khaiyum is further evidence of their desperation.
As is their decree giving themselves immunity from human rights abuses and murder!!! As if the freee world will take any notice of such rot!
It will take time but this regime WILL be crushed and the perpetrators hunted down. The corrupt judiciary in particular MUST be severely punished for their destruction of the rule of law and the horrendous and sustained human rights abuses upon the citizens of Fiji. All is well documented and just waiting for the right time before the international court.

TheMax said...

Sorry folks the media decree will become law. You guys still haven't learn a thing. All these stupid pressures will not make the current government change their mind. The decree may only have some amendments otherwise it's going to be law. Say good bye folks.

Ateca. V said...

The Max -
Q : What precisely haven't we learnt?
Q : What "law" are you presuming pray?
Q : And please define what you mean about "good-bye" ? Good Bye to what precisely ?

Anonymous said...

Max...how long will it be law? The stupid deccree will not live long if it becomes law.

TheMax said...

Oilei, the constitution hasn't been written yet. I suppose that most anti-government commenters assume that when we go back to democratic election, the incoming government will just throw the media decree/law out. I don't think that will happen and this is the reason.

Bainimarama was saying sometime back that whichever government is elected to lead in 2014, the RFMF will ensure they uphold the charter/constitution. What I believe that statement implies is that the RFMF will still play an active role in the future politics of this country since they are the architect and guarantor of the new constitution. So the RFMF's role in the new democratic Fiji may not necessarily be like that of the army's role in democracies such as New Zealand, Australia and Britain. It may really be revolutionary in terms of how we understand the traditional role of the military in the countries mentioned above.

sara'ssista said...

we don't have to change the 'governments mind'. It is neither a government nor has a mind. It is junta and it is impervious to reason. They only thing they will undertstand is isolation and poverty. We don't have to change anything...just don't make it easier for them. There should have been an embargo and blockade of the country in the first week of this situation.

Ateca. V said...

TheMax - not very good at debate are you ?

Next ....

Anonymous said...

@ Max.

Keep on dreaming - don't need an LLB to realise illegal goverments
cannot make legally binding laws.

Don't suppose you and other like minded people have ever thought it ironic that a free medium such as this allows you to express your views?

Anonymous said...

Aus NZ, UK, US EU etc should all having legislation in place that makes coups illegal wherever they occur and to arrest and gaol perpetrators in any country for this crime.These people should they attempt to travel through their repesective countries.These individual should live the rest of their lives worrying about crossing the 'wrong border' in the 'wrong country' that can prosecute them. They should all be on Interpol watch list.

Anonymous said...

Max...I hardly think 'revolutionary' is good description, perhaps criminal and arrogant.This is not inventiveor new... this is not any sort of improvement....this is outrageous as in all the countries this occurs, the militray is corrupt and selfserving or both and feel they are bound by no national laws or no parliament or jundiciary should have any oversight of their activities.I can think of Burma, indonesia, phillipines, zimbabwe, china, thailand, cuba formerly pakistan etc ....please indicate your preferred model that actually works.This miltary has exploded in siz over that past 30 years but this nation has no external threats that could possible warrant it. They serve themselves and their fellow travellers, and give glib repsones about service to 'the people and fiji' if prompted and waffle about nation buliding when that is not their purpose. Things do not get better when you beat up citizens, arrest people arbitrarily or deport others for having an opinion.