Pacific NiusBeat

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Fiji fine removal welcome step - PFF

For immediate release
Rarotonga, Cook Islands
Thursday 16th July 2015:


Fiji journalists are no longer under threat of fines - but what about publishers, editors and the media companies they represent? Photo / Republika magazine



NEWS

Publishers, editors and media companies should be added to law amendments lifting criminal fines from journalists, says the Pacific Freedom Forum.

“We welcome the law amendment removing fines from journalists as a sign that Fiji is finally turning back towards a free media environment,” says PFF Chair Titi Gabi.

“This lives up to a 2010 roadmap to democracy outlining the need for legal reforms to build media freedoms.”

The law amendment to lift fines on journalists – but not publishers and editors – is a rare step in the right direction for Fiji, says the Pacific Freedom Forum.

PFF joins the Fiji Media Association in welcoming the amendment and calling for more law changes.

PFF Co Chair Monica Miller says that media colleagues outside of Fiji are all too used to bad news from the regional centre.

“This marks a great change from decades of disappointment under a persistent coup culture.”

“The government is obviously treating its strong mandate as encouragement to allow greater freedoms, and we support more law reform in that direction.”

Miller said there was still a long way to go before the Fiji government lived up to expectations for a free and independent news media.

Publishers and editors decided what went into print and on the airwaves, not journalists, she says.

Retention of criminal fines for publishers and editors means there may be little change from a coup culture of self-censorship, says Miller.

A lack of accountability leaves Fiji vulnerable to continued corruption and instability.

As well as lift fines from journalists, the act also opens up pay TV to foreign ownership, provided it does not show ads from foreign governments, or non-governmental organisations and other agencies.



LINKS

A Bill For An Act To Amend The Media Industry Development Decree 2010 
http://www.parliament.gov.fj/getattachment/Parliament-Business/Bills/Bill-No-15-Media-Industry-Development-(Amendment)-(1).pdf.aspx

MIDA expects changes in reporting
http://www.fbc.com.fj/fiji/31212/mida-expects-changes-in-reporting

Restrictive media practices
http://www.fijitimes.com/story.aspx?id=313717

Fiji media decree amendment may mean more freedom
http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/278601/fiji-media-decree-amendment-may-mean-more-freedom

FMA welcomes lifting of fines on journalists
http://www.fbc.com.fj/fiji/31073/fma-welcomes-lifting-of-fines-on-journalists

Fijian Media Association welcomes lifting of fines for journalists
http://www.loopfiji.com/content/fijian-media-association-welcomes-lifting-fines-journalists

Fiji 2010 roadmap to democracy
http://www.fiji.gov.fj/getattachment/Govt--Publications/Peoples-Charter/RSSED.pdf.aspx



CONTACTS

PFF Chair Titi Gabi | GM PNG Loop | Papua New Guinea Mail: PO Box 7776, Boroko, NCD, Papua New Guinea | Mob: (675) 7314 3929 | Email: titi.gabipng@gmail.com 

PFF co-Chair Monica Miller | KHJ Radio | American Samoa Mob (684) 258-4197 | Office (684) 633-7793 | Email: monica@khjradio.com 

PFF Editor Jason Brown | Aotearoa New Zealand | Mob: +(64) 224340831 | Email jasonbrown1965@live.com

The Pacific Freedom Forum are a regional and global online network of Pacific media colleagues, with the specific intent of raising awareness and advocacy of the right of Pacific people to enjoy freedom of expression and be served by a free and independent media. We believe in the critical and basic link between these freedoms, and the vision of democratic and participatory governance pledged by our leaders in their endorsement of the Pacific Plan and other commitments to good governance. In support of the above, our key focus is monitoring threats to media freedom and bringing issues of concern to the attention of the wider regional and international community. 

. . .