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World Press Freedom Rating Is A Joke

World Press Freedom Rating Is A Joke
May 04
13:28 2018

The 2018 World Press Freedom index by Reporters Without Borders is a farce.

It is a joke when it rates Samoa and Tonga higher than Fiji.

Samoa is ranked 22nd, Tonga 51st and Fiji 57th.

While Fiji’s rating continues to improve it is unbeliev­able that Samoa and Tonga are ahead of us.

Samoa was recently criticised by a newspaper editor there for reinstating a criminal libel Law previously re­pealed by the ruling Human Rights Protection Party five years ago.

The Samoan Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Maliel­egaoi said then the Law aimed to deal with social media bloggers “who write defamatory remarks.”

The Samoan Justice Minister Fa’aolesa Katopau Ainu’u said the objective was to protect the innocent.

But the Samoa Observer’s editor Mata’afa Keni Lesa said the net result could be a lot more sinister.

The general feeling was that it could be abused to limit media freedom.

In Tonga, a prominent publisher says media freedom and access to information is the worst that he has seen, reports Radio New Zealand.

Kalafi Moala says the media environment in Tonga is at a low.

He said the current government was trying to control channels of public information.

Mr Moala gave the move of senior journalists out of the state broadcaster’s newsroom as just one example of this.

He said the government also responded to criticism or probing questions by making statements to ridicule the media.

It’s obvious that Reporters Without Borders is out of touch with the reality on the ground.


Thank you Bala

Minister for Local Government, Housing & Environ­ment, Infrastructure & Transport Parveen Bala must be commended for acting promptly on the Nausori Market security after the issue was raised in the Fiji Sun last week.

Vendors had raised their concern after a break-in last week.

It was not the first break-in.

Mr Bala has directed the Nausori Town Council to beef up security.

Before the break-in there were only two officers.

After Mr Bala’s visit there will be four.

This will be followed by the installation of CCTV cam­eras.

Some shops in the market have their own CCTV.

But according to Mr Bala, they have not been forthcom­ing with their videos.

These vendors should release their videos to help in the Police investigation.

It’s in their interest and the interest of the general pub­lic that the videos are handed to the Police for investiga­tions.

That’s if they are serious about their complaints.

Mr Bala’s intervention is one of the features of good governance – reflected in a Government that is respon­sive to people’s needs and concerns.


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