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Party views: Media

Party views: Media
August 12
12:30 2014

Four of the registered political parties are against the media decree put in place by the Voreqe Bainimarama-led government.

The Social Democratic Liberal Party, Fiji Labour Party, National Federation Party and the People’s Democratic Party claim that the media have not been free to do their job since the military took over government in 2006.
Here are some views by the different political parties on media freedom.

National Federation Party
The NFP, in their manifesto, claimed that the media industry in the country has been under siege since the 2006 takeover. They said the enforcement of media censorship under the Public Emergency Regulations and the promulgation of the Media Industry Development Decree 2010 had seriously undermined media freedom.

“The Media Industry Development Decree is regressive and suppresses media freedom because it imposes restrictions and prescribes heavy penalties,” NFP’s manifesto stated.

The party have also highlighted that a NFP government would:

* Repeal the Media Industry Development Decree 2010 because they believe the media should not be regulated by the state or any government.

* Enact freedom of information legislation so that the media and members of the public have access to official Government documents in order to effectively promote accountability and transparency.

Fiji United Freedom Party
The Fiji United Freedom party leader Nayagodamu Korovou said the party believed in media freedom because this was the only sign of true democracy. He said the party would repeal all media decrees in place because a free media, they said, played a huge role in nation building.

The Social Democratic Liberal Party in its manifesto highlighted that despite a statement by Mr. Aiyaz Sayed- Khaiyum two years ago that there would soon be a freedom of information decree (Fiji Sun, 21/5/12) nothing has been done on this front.

However they said a SODELPA government would enact a freedom of information act to create a more open and accountable environment.

Fiji Labour Party
The Fiji Labour Party in their manifesto claimed the media was still reluctant to publish certain statements, even of fact, that were critical to the Government’s electoral policies.

This, they said, would compromise any possibility of a free and fair general election on September 17 this year because there would not be accurate information available for public consumption. However, they said in recognising the essential role of the media in a democratic society FLP would:

* Restore media freedom and review the Media Industry Development Decree 2010 to remove the harsh penalties and restrictions on media freedom.

* Remove media licensing restrictions and review local/ expatriate ownership laws in the best interest of the nation and promote intensive journalism training programmes to offset the debilitating impact of seven years of censorship on standards of reporting and media ethics.

People’s Democratic Party
The People’s Democratic Party would:

* Introduce a freedom of information bill and bring the media industry in line with internationally recognised norms of media practice.

* Review media ownership laws and also remove any form of Government’s controls over media.

FijiFirst general secretary Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum at a press conference a few weeks back said the media decree does not impose any restrictions on the media. The code of ethics was the same as under the now inactive Fiji Media Council set up by the news media



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