NEWS

Opposition Motion On Media Issues Defeated

Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum yesterday questioned the motive of National Federation Party leader Biman Prasad, who moved a motion to allow private subscription company Sky Pacific to air local advertisements and
17 Mar 2018 11:06
Opposition Motion On Media Issues Defeated
Opposition MPs Biman Prasad and Viliame Gavoka outside Parliament on March 09, 2018.

Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum yesterday questioned the motive of National Federation Party leader Biman Prasad, who moved a motion to allow private subscription company Sky Pacific to air local advertisements and content.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said Mr Prasad was trying to further the interest of a private company under the guise of the motion to amend the Media Industry Development Act (MIDA) 2015.

He informed the house that while subscription-based television companies earned their revenue from receiving subscriptions, it was the free-to-air televisions like Fiji One and FBC TV which relied on advertising revenue.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum also said the free-to-air channels (eight) which are offered by Walesi was already giving 100 per cent coverage in Fiji. And, people had the choice of which of the eight channels to watch.

The A-G also questioned why under the guise of the motion was NFP furthering the interest of a private company? He said the Government had gone to the extent of making an amendment into law to allow Digicel to purchase Sky Pacific from Fiji One.

27 MPs disagreed on the motion while 15 voted in favour and eight did not vote.

Mr Prasad said the MIDA Amendment Act was passed by Parliament in July 2015, about 31 months ago to facilitate Digicel, a mobile telecommunication company, to buy Sky Pacific from Fiji Television.

“We may have FBC TV, Fiji TV and Mai TV as free to air channels but the right to choose is paramount, just as people choose between radio stations and newspapers.

“This is common sense and this Government always talks about freedom of choice without restrictions,” he said.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said the choice was already there and no one was forced to watch only one channel.

Edited by George Kulamaiwasa

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