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Media Act scrutiny

Aqela Susu
Saturday, January 27, 2018

THE Social Democratic Liberal Party (SODELPA) and the National Federation Party have again reiterated that they will repeal the Media Act if one of them forms the next Government.

The two parties made this statement expressing their disappointment over Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama's statement in Cakaudrove this week, criticising an unnamed newspaper for irresponsible reporting.

Mr Bainimarama claimed the unnamed newspaper had been thriving solely on controversy and drama and should report news accurately.

He said schools were still being built and the newspaper needed to be accurate and report responsibly by telling the people the whole and true story.

In her response, SODELPA general secretary Adi Litia Qionibaravi said they were saddened by the PM's comments.

"The unnamed newspaper is, of course, The Fiji Times because it had reported on the status of some of the schools which were damaged during Cyclone Winston two years ago and have remained in their damaged state to date with children still being taught under the tents and or makeshift sheds," Adi Litia said.

"While government's efforts in repairing some schools and improving roads are appreciated, the fact that another 12 months have gone past and there are students still studying under temporary shelters is a real shame.

"The delay is unacceptable.

"We wish to thank The Fiji Times for its balanced, responsible and fair reporting. It gives the people of Fiji the real story on the ground and it is respected for the truth which it champions.

"A SODELPA government will not misuse its authority to enrich certain media organisations while trying to suppress or close other media," she added.

NFP leader Professor Biman Prasad said it was rather unfortunate the Prime Minister selectively chose moments to publicly "sledgehammer" certain media outlets that were merely doing their job and reporting the dire state of the nation.

"It is plainly obvious the PM was referring to The Fiji Times because less than a week ago he attacked the daily newspaper describing its reporting as 'gimmicky'," Prof Prasad said.

"It has become habitual of this Government to shoot the messenger instead of the message."

He added that a free press was an integral part of democracy and Government should know that pictures told a thousand words

"The NFP is ready to hold itself up to the same media freedom standards that we uphold and a NFP government will repeal the Act, which was previously known as the Media Industry Development Decree 2010, to ensure the nation has a free press that can amplify the voices of all people," Prof Prasad said.








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