Press ‘ready for talks’
25 May, 2018, 9:41 am
THE Fijian Media Association stands ready to meet Government to discuss issues it may have in pressing a way forward in addressing and resolving complaints. The association made the remarks in a statement it issued yesterday after welcoming Tuesday’s ruling of the High Court in Suva after it found three senior officials of The Fiji Times and a letter writer not guilty of sedition charges.
FMA general secretary Stanley Simpson said the ruling was an assurance for all media workers in Fiji that media freedom and freedom of expression were alive and well protected by the judiciary.
“The FMA stands ready to meet with Government to discuss any concerns they may have, and to see a better way forward in addressing and resolving complaints,” Simpson said.
“Fiji Times journalists are founding members of the FMA and we have stood with them from the beginning and during the trying days of the case. We are reassured by the High Court’s decision.”
Simpson said the FMA was also urging its members to be mindful of the responsibilities that accompanied media freedom and to work within the laws, especially the media code of ethics, and to allow for strengthening of internal vetting and editing processes.
FMA also encouraged Government to use existing processes already established with the likes of the Media Industry Development Authority (MIDA) to address complaints they had with the media. Simpson said court proceedings should be the last resort because MIDA could deal with complaints effectively.
“There have been previous cases in which this was done, including a similar report by Fiji TV prior to the 2014 election. In that incident, the complaint was adjudicated by MIDA, with both sides providing evidence over three rounds, and MIDA finally ruling that Fiji TV had to apologise for reporting the racially inciting comment, not just once, but several times,” he said.
MIDA chairman Ashwin Raj said he would issue a statement on this today.