Raj: Media plays a constructive role in combating racist stereotypes

Update: 4:39PM THE media must play a constructive role in combating racist stereotypes and fostering cohesion rather than exploiting our differences, says Fiji Human Rights and Anti Discrimination Commission director Ashwin Raj.

He made those comments while speaking at the Citizens’ Constitutional Forum Equal at the Mic Concert to commemorate International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination at Sukuna Park in Suva this afternoon.

Mr Raj said there should be no space for prejudicial discourses that could lead to racial or religious vilification.

“We, as a nation and as individuals, must strive to combat hate speech, more so now as we prepare for the national election this year,” he said.

“While Fiji is undergoing significant legal and political transformation to remove the vestiges of institutionalised racism, racism still manifests itself in the form of racist hate speeches. 

“Our social media is saturated with material that promotes racial and religious vilification. 

“Hate speech in the guise of freedom of expression is not within the permissible narrative of the law.”

Mr Raj said the day called for reflection on the far-reaching consequences of hate and intolerance on our shared humanity.

The International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is observed globally on March 21. 

It commemorates the shooting of 69 people by Police at a peaceful demonstration in Sharpeville, South Africa, in 1960 who were protesting against the unjust laws of apartheid.