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Fiji Time: 6:57 AM on Thursday 17 April

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State rejects media claims

Avinesh Gopal
Saturday, May 05, 2012

THERE is no collision course on press freedom in Fiji, the government said last night.

Ministry of Information's permanent secretary Sharon Smith-Johns said, "we have a free media".

Ms Johns made the comments in response to Suva lawyer Richard Naidu's statement that "the current State laws relevant to the media are on a collision course."

"The Media Industry Development Decree has firm ideas of how the industry is to develop," Mr Naidu had said, adding that it prevented any articles published against the public interest.

However, Ms Johns said last night that "Mr Naidu makes unchallenged, sweeping and inaccurate comments about the laws and regulations in place in Fiji, which, in reality, provide protection not only the media but also to the public."

"Apparently, in Mr Naidu's opinion, hate speech and the spread of misinformation is unobjectionable in our nation's media," she said.

"The article does not balance Mr Naidu's opinion with the true purpose of these measures which is to promote free and fair reporting."