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Association Welcomes Decree Amendment

The Fijian Media Association has welcomed the amendment to the Media Industry Development Decree that removed the $1000- fine that journalists faced for breaching the decree. The amendment, passed in
11 Jul 2015 10:08
Association Welcomes Decree Amendment

The Fijian Media Association has welcomed the amendment to the Media Industry Development Decree that removed the $1000- fine that journalists faced for breaching the decree.

The amendment, passed in Parliament on Thursday, means journalists will no longer have the threat of a fine hanging over their heads while doing their job.

“This is a positive step forward by the Government in recognising some of the constraints that the Media Decree had imposed on journalists,” Ricardo Morris, president of the association, said.

“We welcome this move which should encourage journalists to seek out and report stories that will bring positive changes to communities and people’s lives.

“We look forward to further encouraging changes by the Government so that the media industry in Fiji truly develops to its full potential.

“Journalists should not operate in an environment of fear but do their jobs freely and fairly,” he said.

However, there remain concerns that editors, publishers and media companies continue to face substantial fines of up to $25,000 and $100,000 respectively.

Mr Morris said: Anybody who does a job where there is a risk of huge fines for breaches of the law will certainly feel some kind of pressure. While it can be argued that those fines are there to ensure media standards are maintained, there’s also the counter-argument that those fines stifle free speech and a vibrant media.

“Media businesses are special kinds of business with an important responsibility to their audience and the wider public, so this should be acknowledged.”

The Fijian Media Association also welcomes the Government’s granting of a 12-year licence to Fiji Television Limited.

“This shows goodwill on the part of the Government. We hope the outcome of this will mean a better free-to-air television service for all Fijians with more local content that is relevant and engaging for Fiji’s audience,” Mr Morris said.

Fijian Media Association

Feedback:  jyotip@fijisun.com.fj

 



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