CCF concerned with lack of public participation in recent passing of Fijian laws

Citizen’s Constitutional Forum CEO Louchrisha Hussain. Picture: FILE

The lack of public participation and consultation in the recent passing of laws in Fiji is a grave concern, says Citizens Constitutional Forum (CCF) CEO Louchrisha Hussain.

In a statement issued to mark the 15th anniversary of International Day of Democracy on Thursday, she said CCF, through its advocacy, emphasised the protection of citizens’ civil and political rights in all democratic processes.

Ms Hussain said there needed to be more priority placed on advocating for free, independent, and pluralistic media in Fiji, as well as the creation of such environment to encourage media freedoms.

She said journalists around the world, including Fiji, faced limitations that affected their capacity to operate freely.

Ms Hussain said as Fiji moved toward the 2022 General Election, it was important the media be granted the freedom to carry out its important role of “providing the public with credible information on matters of national public interest; they must be allowed to do so freely without duress, fear of prosecution or legal harassment”.

She said the ever-growing censorship of the media and the increasing move to silence and prosecute journalists in Fiji was becoming more apparent; “this undermines the very essence of a free-media and true democracy”.

“True democracy is one founded on people-driven policies,” Ms Hussain said.

“We encourage citizens to stay informed and actively engage in democratic processes.

“We call on Government to improve laws that support the flow of credible and insightful information from the media to citizens so they are able to take up the opportunities available to engage in various levels of democratic processes.”

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