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Radio Fiji Again Refuses To Run Pro-Democracy Ad

Issue No: 304 20 December 2000

The Fiji broadcasting Commission has again refused to run a pro-democracy advertisement, which it had earlier agreed to run.

This time the Fijian language advertisement was prepared by Ratu Meli Vesikula with the support of the Citizens Constitutional Forum.

According to a report on the Pacific Media Watch online (http://www.pmw.c2o.org), Citizens Constitutional Forum's executive director Rev Akuila Yabaki stated that the FBC had initially agreed to run the advertisement. The report states that in a letter to FBC acting chief executive Francis Herman and board member Isireli Kini, Rev Yabaki requested an explanation for the station's refusal to broadcast the advertisement.

The report states that Rev Yabaki said the script of the advertisement was factual and did not defame anyone. The station had previously given prominence to those involved in the Parliamentary takeover on May 19, including an interview with an independent MP implicated in the attempted coup, Simione Kaitani.

"After May 19, FBC was freely broadcasting on the news the direct appeal of people like Simione Kaitani to Fijians to come to Parliament and support George Speight," PMW Online reported Yabaki as saying.

Yabaki wrote: "This was broadcasting to support illegal activities. Now the situation is more normal and we want to advertise our views in support of legality and moderation - and you refuse to broadcast," said Rev Yabaki.

Earlier the same radio station - which is government owned - had refused to run advertisements given by Fiji Blues Campaign (for democracy) saying it would not run any advertisements which made references to the 1997 constitution until such time as the appeal and subsequent legal proceedings were disposed of. (see http://www.pcgov.org.fj/hot_press/no266.htm)

END 20 December 2000


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