A-G berates association

Fiji media editors and news directors with the Australian Deputy High Commissioner to Fiji Paul Wilson at the launch of the Fijian Press Club logo and World Press Freedom Day celebration at Albert Park. Picture: ATU RASEA/FILE

Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum has berated the Fiji Media Association and heads of three local media organisations for dragging their feet on attending Fijian Elections Office training sessions.

At a press conference on Sunday, a representative from the media asked the AG to respond to the FMA’s concerns about how the amendment to media legislation had the potential to cause undue interference into the integrity and independence of the Fijian media.

In response, Mr Sayed-Khaiyum asked the reporter to explain how the amendments affected media independence.

“I’m asking you because you are asking the question,” the AG said.

“Stanley Simpson (MaiTV CEO and FMA president) has not even attended the Fijian Elections Office training session.

“Here you have the organisation supposedly representing the media organisations not attending.

“I think most of the editors have not.”I think only last week they attended the meeting – CFL (Communications Fiji Limited) went, Fred Wesley (The Fiji Times editor-in-chief) went and Stanley went – but earlier on they did not go.

“What has this got to do with independence when you actually have a provision in the law that says foreigners should not own majority of the shares in any Fijian media organisation – isn’t that a good thing?

“What this does, it means that you cannot in the back doorway, for example, allow a foreign organisation to run a Fijian media organisation – have they mentioned that at all?

“They haven’t mentioned that at all nor have they given any examples as to how it affects the independence of any media organisation.”

Since the law has been passed, has your work been in any way affected? How you are reporting has it been affected? Your editorial control has it been affected?

“Unless of course you can tell me that editorial content was done by somebody outside the organisation.”

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