Monday, 2 August 2010

Fiji: PFF calls for clarity over 'police questioning' of journalists

The overnight detention of Fiji journalist Richard Naidu over a news story on the FijiLive website is stirring concern over the continuing campaign of intimidation and fear against Fiji's journalists says the Pacific Freedom Forum, PFF.
Police confirmed Naidu was taken into custody on Friday 30 July, after the FijiLive site where he serves as News Editor ran a story stating Fiji's military head of the Police Esala Teleni, had been suspended.  A government release on Monday 2 August,  hours after the FijiLive site returned from a weekend of going offline, stepped out its version of why the two events were unrelated. But PFF remains concerned over the signals sent out by the process of 'police questioning' and its implications for Fiji's journalists.
"If Police are going to use up their taxpayer-funded time questioning journalists overnight for every error of fact that is published, surely the public has a right to demand more clarity on the efficiency and priorities of their public officials," says PFF chair Susuve Laumaea of Papua New Guinea.
"We call on the regime to make public the reasons and the rules which govern the continued impromptu detainment of journalists for Police questioning. It's a human rights issue, and will help Police better understand their own responsibility to uphold professional integrity."
"In the news and information industry, it's impossible to get it right, all the time. Standard practice is that we say'sorry' when we get it wrong, run a correction, and learn from it," says PFF co-chair Monica Miller of American Samoa.
"We hope the regime who replaced the former Public Emergency Regulations with the new Media Decree will be open to ensuring their own officials understand that the PER is over -- and that a media-led process for raising concerns and running corrections already exists."--ENDS

CONTACT: PFF interim Chair Susuve Laumaea | Sunday Chronicle Newspaper | Papua New Guinea Mobile: 675-684 5168 | Office: 675-321-7040 | Email: PFF interim co-Chair Monica Miller | KHJ Radio | American Samoa Mob 684 258-4197 | Office 684 633-7793 | Email: 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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