Tuesday, 6 April 2010

FIJI: Regime must open up time window on draft media decree -- PFF

Rarotonga, COOK ISLANDS, --A two and a half hour time window for Fiji's media to have their say on their industry's future threatens the credibility of today's draft media decree 'consultations'. Regional media freedom watchdog, the Pacific Freedom Forum says it's not too late for those behind the decree to allow more time for feedback.
“We had seen a sign of hope when the regime lifted its ban on allowing the Fiji Times and Fiji TV to participate,” says PFF chair Susuve Laumaea of PNG.
“But a two and a half hour time frame shoots your own process in the foot. It blocks off any meaningful input and raises the question of whether Fiji media houses should even bother to turn up. If you cannot truly participate and belong to a meeting to discuss your future, who really benefits from you being there?”
“We strongly urge the leadership to open up the time window for feedback and salvage the process from ridicule.”
The draft media decree is planned to replace regime controls on freedom of speech , expression and the right to assembly in Fiji since the abrogation of the Constitution a year ago this month.
Interim Attorney-General, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum has told journalists the decree draft establishes a Media Industry Development Authority , an ‘independent’ Media Tribunal with the power to rule on breaches, a Television Programme Classification Code , provisions pertaining to cross-media ownership, a media code of standards including a Code of Ethics and Practice, and a General code of practice for Advertisements including advertising to children.

“Any of the above would entail a timeline covering weeks or months of feedback and consultation. We can only hope those behind this draft are willing to allow sense to prevail and grant more time for media outlets to prepare their responses and informed input,” says PFF co-chair Monica Miller.
“We wish our colleagues all the best with seeking that extension, at today’s meeting."--ENDS



PFF interim Chair
Susuve Laumaea | Sunday Chronicle Newspaper | Papua New Guinea
Mobile: 675-684 5168 | Office: 675-321-7040 | Email: susuve.laumaea@interoil.com

PFF interim co-Chair
Monica Miller | KHJ Radio | American Samoa
Mob 684 258-4197 | Office 684 633-7793 | Email: monica@khjradio.com

The Pacific Freedom Forum are a regional and global online network of Pacific media colleagues, with the specific intent of raising awareness and advocacy of the right of Pacific people to enjoy freedom of expression and be served by a free and independent media.
We believe in the critical and basic link between these freedoms, and the vision of democratic and participatory governance pledged by our leaders in their endorsement of the Pacific Plan and other commitments to good governance. In support of the above, our key focus is monitoring threats to media freedom and bringing issues of concern to the attention of the wider regional and international community.

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