Fiji Times Logo

Fiji Time: 6:23 PM on Sunday 20 April

/ Front page / News

Decree necessary

Felix Chaudhary
Sunday, December 08, 2013

THE implementation of the 2010 Media Industry and Development Decree was necessary to enforce media standard, says the chairman of the Media Industry Development Authority Ashwin Raj.

He said too often criticism directed at the media was seen as an assault on journalistic freedom.

Speaking during a panel discussion on the "Role of the Media in a Constitutional Democracy" at the 15th Attorney-General's Conference in Natadola yesterday, Mr Raj said some sectors had called the decree an attempt to gag the press without attempting to understand the new law.

"The 2010 Decree attracted criticism from select sections decrying that the Decree was an attempt to muzzle free press by an unelected government," he said.

"Alarmingly, little effort has been made to actually enter the protocols of the Decree and read through its provisions, which provides a nuanced framework for the enforcement of media standards.

"If media holds the State accountable, the question then is 'who guards the guard'? What legal recourse does the public have in the event that the media has wronged them?"

Mr Raj said the media played a critical role as the country moved towards elections and could assist in a developmental role by explaining the elections process and how parliament worked in a true democracy.