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Media representatives at Albert Park in Suva after a Zumba workout as part of the Fijian Media Association World Press Freedom Day celebrations on May 3, 2018. Photo: Fonua Talei
May 04
13:40 2018

A longitudinal assess­ment of the rankings compiled by Reporters Without Borders on the world press freedom index attests to the considerable strides Fiji has made over the years in strengthening press freedom rising in ranks from 107 to 93 in 2015, 80 in 2016, going up 13 ranks in 2017 to 67 and another 10 ranks to 57 in 2018.

The issue of political bias must not be confused and equated with press freedom. There is little doubt that our press today enjoys a plural­ity of voices regardless of the ideological dispositions or political proclivities one es­pouses to including dissenting voices that are openly critical of government and its policies as much as they are critical of the opposition political parties.

Fiji must continue to develop its own jurisprudence on free­dom of expression that balanc­es its constitutional safeguards for the protection of freedom of speech, expression, thought, opinion and publication in­cluding freedom of the press with justifiable limitations set out in the Constitution that are consistent with international law which expressly provides that freedom of the press does not protect advocacy of hatred on any prohibited grounds of discrimination.

The international media en­joys access to Fiji and reports regularly on political develop­ments in Fiji without any ob­struction.

Radio New Zealand and the ABC are two examples. The media including foreign media will cover the 2018 general elec­tion in Fiji as they did so with­out obstruction in 2014.

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