Wednesday, 9 February 2011 4:24 AM

PFF to Fiji Regime: Remove News Censors

PFF, Rarotonga, COOK ISLANDS--Fiji's regime is being reminded of its promise to remove censors from newsrooms once its media decree came into force, says regional media watchdog the Pacific Freedom Forum (PFF).

"Fiji's media and the public were repeatedly promised that once the Media Decree was introduced, the Public Emergency Regulations would be lifted. But since June 2010, the Fiji media operates with two layers of regime control, the PER and the Media Decree. That's hardly a basis for building mutual respect and open communication between media workers and the media authority," says PFF chair Susuve Laumaea of Papua New Guinea.

The renewed call on scrapping the censors comes after news reports the regime-appointed Fiji Media Industry Development Authority (MIDA) tasked with enforcing the media decree, begin regular meetings with stakeholders and media representatives.

In the media report, MIDA chair Professor Subramani said 'safeguarding the interests of women and children, sensitivity in reporting of Fiji's multi-ethnic communities and protecting the national interest are all worthwhile goals that require an educated media, and that the media needs to exercise discipline and objectivity in carrying out its responsibilities'.

"Responsibility is a critical aspect of how all newsrooms do their work. Our Fiji media colleagues have been well aware of this for decades, and PFF continues to support the global standard of a free and independant media. We continue to support self-regulation via codes of media ethics and standards; and a media council to oversee complaints over breaches of media standards," says PFF co-chair Monica Miller of American Samoa.

"The Pacific Freedom Forum has already raised its grave concern that the Pacific Islands News Association is directly represented on the Fiji regime's MIDA ,and our position on that has not changed," says Miller.--ENDS