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Call for fair reports

Felix Chaudhary
Wednesday, December 11, 2013

THE media should be free to report on all matters in a balanced and professional manner, says Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama.

Speaking at the opening of the 15th Attorney-General's Conference in Natadola last Friday, he said the Constitution allowed for freedom of expression and media freedom.

"Linked, of course, to civil and political rights is the right for people under the Constitution to be able to express their opinions freely, freedom of speech and expression, and a free media," he said.

"The media plays a critical role in a constitutional democracy but more so in a developing country like Fiji and in particular, given our political history, both before and after independence.

"I fundamentally believe that the media should be free to report on all matters in a balanced and professional manner.

"The Media Industry Development Decree actually provides for that."

Contrary to criticism from some corners, Commodore Bainimarama said the decree was not designed to muzzle the press in Fiji but rather to ensure the free, fair and balanced reporting of news and issues.

"When this decree was implemented, the critics said it would muzzle the media.

"But I'm glad to note that no media outlet has been charged with any breach of editorial misconduct under the decree."