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(Apr 07, 2010) On March 30, 2010, the interim government of Fiji announced plans to hold consultation sessions between April 7 and April 10 as it seeks to finalize the Media Industry Development Decree 2010. (Press Release, International Federation of Journalists [IFJ], IFJ Welcomes Entry of Media on Fiji Consultation (Apr. 4, 2010), available at http://pacific.scoop.co.nz/2010/04/ifj-welcomes-entry-of-media-on-fiji-c
onsultation/.) Media organizations and other interested parties will be able to register and attend the meetings. This will include the Fiji Times and Fiji TV, which had originally been barred from attending previous meetings that were postponed due to tropical cyclone Tomas. (Id.; Press Release, Fiji Ministry of Information, Public Consultations on Media Decree Deferred (Mar. 15, 2010), available at http://www.fiji.gov.fj/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&
In announcing the new consultation plans, the Attorney-General, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, said that the decree would include a code of ethics for the media, along with an advertising standards code. The draft decree would also establish a Media Industry Development Authority, which will monitor compliance with the codes, and a tribunal will be set up to hear complaints against media organizations and individuals. (Media Code of Ethics Part of New Decree, FIJI LIVE, Apr. 3, 2010, available at http://www.fijilive.com/news_new/index.php/news/show_news/24828; Stage Set for Decree Talks, FIJI TIMES, Apr. 3, 2010, available at http://www.fijitimes.com.fj/story.aspx?id=143627.)
The consultation announcement follows the government's decision to extend emergency regulations until the end of April 2010. The Public Emergency Regulations 2009 ban news stories that are critical of the government and allow officials to prevent public meetings that are deemed to be a threat to Fiji's security. (Campbell Cooney, Fiji Clampdown to Go Past 12 Months, AUSTRALIA NETWORK NEWS, Mar. 25, 2010, available at http://australianetworknews.com/stories/201003/2855952.htm?desktop.) These regulations have been in place since the abrogation of the Constitution in April 2009, which followed a court ruling that the interim government, established following a coup in 2006, was illegal. (Toni O'Loughlin, Journalists Expelled As Fiji Coup Leader Cracks Down on Media, THE GUARDIAN [UK], Apr. 14, 2009, available at http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/apr/14/fiji-media-crackdown.)
The regulations have been described as imposing "sweeping censorship in Fiji, with official censors and police placed in newsrooms." (IFJ, supra.) The government has previously said that it will lift the regulations once the media decree has been finalized. (Press Release, Pacific Media Watch, Fiji Media Decree to Replace Emergency Regulation, Says Colonel (Jan. 6, 2010), available at http://pacific.scoop.co.nz/2010/01/fiji-media-decree-to-replace-emergenc
- Author: Kelly Buchanan More by this author
- Topic: Freedom of the press More on this topic
- Jurisdiction: Fiji More about this jurisdiction
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Last updated: 04/07/2010