NGO calls for respect of media freedom

THE NGO Coalition on Human Rights has called for the respect of media freedom and the safety and protection of journalists in the country.

The call comes after three journalists from regional magazine, Islands Business were taken in for questioning by police during the weekend.

The journalists were questioned over an article published by Islands Business about the Magistrate who ruled on the case of the locked out ATS workers last month.

NGOCHR chair Nalini Singh said the interrogation of journalists by police, would only foster a climate of fear and intimidation for the press.

“It’s important to promote an enabling space for our journalists and media, to prevent self-censorship in the newsrooms and ensure people are being informed of current affairs and issues,” Ms Singh said.

She said there should be a substantive review of the media laws including the Media Development Industry Act.

“The NGOCHR believes that public order and national security can be upheld and protected without undermining the principles of press freedom,” she said.

She said articles that criticise across the political spectrum, including authorities and the Government, should not be seen as threats to national security and public order.

“These are essential to enable discourse and key in the democratisation process,” she said.

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