NEWS

Fiji Media Association Condemns Attack On Journalist

Vaqewa approached the journalist, confronted her grabbed her hand and phone, which she was using to take pictures, and twisted her arm, before a Police officer intervened and led him away.
28 Jun 2019 13:28
Fiji Media Association Condemns Attack On Journalist
Stanley Simpson. File Photo.

Any attack on journalists is an attack on media freedom in this country, says Fijian Media Association general secretary Stanley Simpson.

He made the comments after a journalist from the Fiji Sun was attacked by a man facing aggravated robbery charges.

After court proceedings the accused, Eroni Vaqewa, was exiting the courtroom when the journalist, who was standing outside the courtroom, took his photo.

Vaqewa approached the journalist, confronted her grabbed her hand and phone, which she was using to take pictures, and twisted her arm, before a Police officer intervened and led him away.

Mr Simpson had said the FMA was concerned on the increasing attacks on journalists, which has become a regular occurrence at the courthouse in Suva.

He said the concern was that it was only a matter of time before a journalist was seriously hurt.

“We are calling on the authorities and the Police to beef up security at the courthouse,” Mr Simpson said.

“We are again urging the public to appreciate and understand the role journalists play in providing the coverage of how justice is administered in this country.

“It is important for journalists to do their reporting without fear and without intimidation.”

Mr Simpson said Police needed to relook at how they provided security at the courthouse.

“We feel that those who attack or are abusive to our journalists need to be charged,” he said.

“Action needs to be taken against those who attack journalists.

“We cannot tolerate this any longer. Those who are doing this are attacking freedom of speech and information in this country.”

Police spokesperson Ana Naisoro said there were systems and processes in place in the escorting of an accused person.

“The Police had to look at the particulars of how the individual was being escorted and if there was any failure to follow procedures,” she said.

“We also call on members of the media to be aware of the need to keep themselves out of harm’s way, especially in situations where their safety could be at risk.

“Considering the confined spaces escorting officers have to work within court premises we would also ask members of the media to be considerate of the needs of Police officers whose main focus is to prevent any escape from lawful custody.”

Edited by Epineri Vula

Feedback: ashna.kumar@fijisun.com.fj



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