World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 


Fiji: End harassment of journalists ahead of election

Amnesty International Press Release

27 June 2014

Fiji: End harassment of journalists ahead of election

The Fijian authorities must immediately end the harassment of journalists ahead of the parliamentary elections in September, said Amnesty International.

On Wednesday 25 June, a government body – the Fiji Media Industry Development Authority – called for two journalism academics from Fiji’s University of the South Pacific to be investigated for commenting on an apparent admission by the military that they used torture.

“This is the latest act of intimidation against journalists by the authorities. There is a worrying pattern in Fiji of the authorities trying to silence journalists ahead of the elections in September,” said Michael Hayworth, Amnesty International’s Fiji campaigner.

“Attacks against the media are one of the most serious violations of the right to freedom of expression, particularly in the lead up to elections. The media must be allowed to freely publish information concerning the elections, including criticisms of the government and candidates, without fear of retribution.”

The right to freedom of expression remains severely restricted in Fiji by laws and regulations which impose heavy penalties, including custodial sentences, for those exercising their right to freedom of expression.

Recent decrees such as the Public Order Amendment Decree 2012, Crimes Decree 2009, the Media Industry Development Decree 2010 and the new Constitution promulgated in September 2013 have stifled free speech, including the work of the media.

Amnesty International has documented cases of arrests, arbitrary detention and heavy fines against journalists and others solely for exercising their right to freedom of expression in doing their work as journalists.

“Current restrictions, combined with arrests and the practice of imposing heavy fines for breaching these regulations have had a chilling effect and stifled open debate on key matters of national interest,” said Michael Hayworth.

Amnesty International is calling for Fiji to lift existing restrictions on the media and ensure that journalists are not subject to prosecution, intimidation or harassment for undertaking their legitimate work and publishing diverse views.

Last week, in an article published in an Australian newspaper, Brigadier-General Tikoitoga reportedly admitted to acts of torture by the military since the 2006 coup, but claimed these were necessary to maintain civil order.

“Instead of persecuting journalists the Fijian government should instead focus its efforts on investigating cases of torture, which the military now appears to have admitted to openly,” said Michael Hayworth.

ENDS


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

'Very Concerned' After Court Ruling: UNHRC On Transfer Of 267 People From Australia To Nauru

Most of these people were reportedly brought to Australia from Nauru to receive medical treatment and are in a fragile physical and mental state. The group includes more than 12 women and at least one child who have allegedly suffered sexual assault or harassment while in Nauru. The group also includes 37 children born in Australia. More>>

ALSO:

Sanctions To Be Lifted: NZ Welcomes Implementation Of Iran Nuclear Deal

Duty Minister Nikki Kaye has welcomed the next stage in the historic nuclear deal between Iran, the Five Permanent (P5) members of the United Nations Security Council, and Germany... “New Zealand has now started the domestic process for removing the UN sanctions." More>>

ALSO:

Pre-Davos Reports: 62 People Own Same Wealth As Half The World

Runaway inequality has created a world where 62 people own as much wealth as the poorest half of the world’s population – a figure that has fallen from 388 just five years ago, according to an Oxfam report published today ahead of the annual gathering of the world’s financial and political elites in Davos.. More>>

ALSO:

Jakarta: UN Secretary-General On Attacks

The Secretary-General condemns the bombings and gun attacks in Jakarta today... there is absolutely no justification for such acts of terrorism. He hopes the perpetrators of today's attacks will be swiftly brought to justice. More>>

ALSO:

Werewolf: America, The Gated

How, in a global metropolis like New York, do you write about immigration as a problem to be solved? And yet immigration is a hot button issue among those fighting to break away from the unruly clump of starters in the race for Republican nominee. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news