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Media freedom issues

Dawn Gibson
Friday, May 16, 2014

MEDIA freedom, particularly during the election period, is an issue which political parties and independent candidates should consider addressing in their individual manifestos.

Fiji Women's Crisis Centre highlighted this issue to this newspaper when questioned about what they thought were some of the main issues which needed to be addressed given the September-scheduled election.

"The Media Decree, which imposes severe fines for transgressions, can lead to a culture of self-censorship," FWCC executive director Shamima Ali claimed.

"Foreign ownership of media is restricted, but the rules within which local media owners and editors must operate does not encourage the questioning of government practices."

Ms Ali challenged political parties and aspiring independent candidates to consider possible reviews of the mentioned decree, as well as to make clear their views on the government ownership of media.

Ms Ali said FWCC, as an apolitical organisation, hoped to be of some help to political parties and independent candidates who were still formulating their manifestos.

"The FWCC has consistently advocated for democracy, the rule of law and human rights throughout the course of its history.

"The protection of human rights requires accountable democratic government, adherence to the rule of law and constitutionality."

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