Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Fiji’s Repressive Media Decree Takes Effect

New York, June 28, 2010

—A new Fijian media decree that formalizes repressive government control of the media could force the outspoken Fiji Times to close within three months, according to international news reports.

Fiji Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum announced at a press conference today that the Media Industry Development Decree, drafted in April, is now in effect, according to local and international news reports. The decree requires all media outlet directors and 90 percent of shareholders to be citizens and permanent residents of Fiji. Sayed-Khaiyum set a deadline three months from today for media organizations to comply or cease to operate, the news reports said.

The clause targets the Times, which has been owned for 23 years by News Ltd., the Australian arm of Rupert Murdoch’s New York-based News Corp., according to international news reports. “At this stage Fiji Times is the media organization that needs to comply with the ownership requirements,” Sayed-Khaiyum said during the press conference, according to a report on the Times’ Web site.

The decree’s other measures forbid news broadcasts “against the national interest or public order” and reporting without a byline, with a government-appointed tribunal to adjudicate complaints, the reports said. Penalties for noncompliance have been reduced since the April draft, but still include hefty fines and potential jail terms, according to the reports.

Military leader Frank Bainimarama banned reporting critical of the government under emergency regulations in April 2009 after a court ruled his 2006 coup unlawful. The Fiji Times was among many media outlets to question Bainimarama’s failure to meet his pledge to restore democracy by 2009. Sayed-Khaiyum said today that censorship would continue for the next three months, according to the Times.

“Frank Bainimarama’s government must repeal this decree and cease restricting news content,” said CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon. “Bainimarama took power promising a return to democracy, but his actions are increasingly dictatorial.”

News Ltd.’s Australian office did not answer calls and e-mails after local business hours today. John Hartigan, News Ltd. chairman and chief executive, said in a statement there was “no doubt that this move is designed to force our hand in selling the business and pulling out of Fiji,” according to The Associated Press.

The Fiji Times, the country’s oldest newspaper, has come under increasing pressure in the past few years, with at least two senior Australian staff members deported after officials questioned their work permits, according to CPJ research.

The April draft threatened publishers, editors, and journalists with fines of 100,000 Fiji dollars (US$50,000) and five-year jail terms for breaching the decree, according to an AP report in April. That has been revised to 25,000 Fiji dollars (US$13,000) or two years in prison, according to Agence France-Presse. Media organizations still face up to 100,000 Fiji dollar (US$50,000) penalties.

Comments posted on

  • The illegal Regime in Fiji is now showing its true colors to us the people they are supposedly governing. It has been 4 long years since the take over and the only success story they can claim is the
    going south of the economy,the total isolation of the illegal govt of Fiji from the International community and the wasted human resources by the militarization of the civil service.
    The economic indicators do not lie nor does International statistics in stating that Fiji economy is almost at total collapse if it has not reached that point already.
    The illegal PM boasts about the entry of Fiji to the Non Alaigned Movement but he does not know the remification of such actions.
    Borrowing money and asking for loan is now the hallmark of this illegal regime.
    To everyone who reads this blog in Fiji, please know that your FNPF is being used by this illegal regime to suppoet them and that is why you the taxpayers of Fiji do not have excess to your FNPF when you want it.
    Now let us look very closely at the countries that Bainimarama is seeking detante and close ties with,
    The Arab world is the norm for the illegal regime now because Khaiyum is trying to Talibanize Fiji and all you people in Fiji are just standing by and watch Bainimarama take your country to the dumpsters.
    The Education system in Fiji today leaves a lot to be desired because the school's infrastructure is in dire need to upgrading and there is a great need for qualified experienced teachers to be employed but the 55 year work limit has brought the education standards in Fiji down.
    The Turn North Policy is very dangerous because as soft loans mounts so does the liability for our grandchildren and great grandchildren's future look slim and debt ridden and it will take them for ever to pay these soft loans off.
    One of the hallmaek of tyhis illegal regime is the employment of relatives and people who have very little or no educational background. When you have the uneducated trying to lead the educated it is a recipe for disaster.
    It is now time for all of the Fiji people to stand up to this illegal regime and stop them now before it is too late.
  • And not forgetting, OB Loru, the additional $20million loan from Fijian Holdings Ltd., and addtional loans from other sources to pay civil servant salaries.

    Surely the illegal regime is going bankrupt. All that Sada Reddy is saying about the upturn in the economy is seemingly untrue.
  • Sai even the United States of America has got wind of this Media decree.The New York Times is owned by Rupert Murdoch.Now a non en tity like Fiji? Wait when the world media will clamp down on Khaiyum.
  • The Suppression of the Media have been the hallmarks of many Muslims countries and not because its a Muslim country its because the leaders sees it as away to rule with fear and the suppression of the voice of truth.This is the same here in Fiji.

    Now the Khaiyyum is the VIP of this Illegal Government, he is thriving on this Decrees, not as so much as Frank and the Indeginous Fijian. The country if Frank does not wake up soon, khaiyyum would be last person standing up, since all decrees is isolating Frank from everyone else in Fiji.

    Those who are backing Frank only exist because of the paycheque. Try stopping the Pay cheque, Frank. and you will see how many real friends you have among the Fijians and our brothers the Indians know where their bread is buttered. On Marshlows Hierachy of needs, for Fijians food is important, you stop the source , you get chaos and kocokoco.

    I am somewhat mystified when we see the Government coffers graphs going into red, the Illegal Government in bed with China, Russia, the insignificant Arabian countries, we still think that this person has the mental to drive across the huge wilderness which He did not realise He created himself. Guess what he is borrowing Money from FHL- whose architect he removed with the gun barrel.

    On modern day economicsthe SDL knows exactly what it was doing. Because though their spin seem somewhat made vague by Chaudhary to the Commodore and when Chaudhary realise that Commodre was on ball, he rolled with it, gave Commodore the lollipop of this century and opted out,waiting to get back into the 2014 election.

    Khaiyyyum takes his cue from Chaudhary. Frank is a pawn in all this. "Frank you take the money, we will write the laws"- Khaiyyam&Chaudhary

    Fiji the land of my birth. Man up and stand up to be counted!

    PS. Frank thought he was using them as pawns, but its the other way round. True to that adage " There are no angels in hell"

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