FEO concerned with grossly incorrect and inflammatory headline in The Fiji Times - Mohammed Saneem

FEO concerned with grossly incorrect and inflammatory headline in The Fiji Times - Mohammed Saneem

By Simione Tuvuki
Monday 22/03/2021

Supervisor of Elections, Mohammed Saneem is concerned with the grossly incorrect and inflammatory headline in The Fiji Times newspaper titled “Power to Fine”.

Saneem says it has been suggested in the article that Section 144A (4) gives power to the Supervisor of Elections and the Electoral Commission to fine and jail persons publishing materials that undermine public confidence on duty and function of both offices.

The Fiji Times says in the first paragraph of the article that “Under the proposed Bill Number 50 of 2020, the Supervisor of Elections and the Electoral Commission have powers to fine and jail persons publishing materials undermining public confidence on his duty and function.”

Saneem says the Proposed Electoral (Amendment) Bill 2020 clearly states that “Section 144A (4) – Any person or political party that contravenes this section commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $50,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 5 years or both.”

He adds the provision must be read in its entirety to be able to grasp the true interpretation of the same and the explanatory note of this provision clearly indicates that the section is there to allow the court from awarding penalties best suited to the circumstances of the offending.

Saneem further says this shows that section 144A (4) is meant for the court and does not provide powers to the Supervisor of Elections or the Electoral Commission as suggested in the article.

The Fijian Elections Office also verified a report titled “Former officer questions transparency”, saying there is no record of any person by the name of Biu Solia to have undertaken any role as an election official at the Wailotua Polling Station in 2018.

Saneem says impersonation of an election official is an offence and they will refer this matter to FICAC.

He says the Fijian Elections Office is always available to provide facts and information to all media organisations and they urge them to use this resource.

We have sent questions on the matter to The Fiji Times Editor In Chief, Fred Wesley. He is yet to respond.

Latest Videos

Stay tuned for the latest news on our radio stations

CFL radio frequencies
All Blacks 7s claim both Sydney 7s men’s and women’s titles
Serious questions are being asked after yet another dismal performance by the Fiji Airways men’s 7s team in the HSBC World 7s Series.
1 day ago

Womens Rugby World Cup 2022
Quarter-final qualification is now the goal for the Rooster Chicken Fijiana 15’s following their 21-17 victory against South Africa.
106 days ago

Queen Elizabeth II passes away
Queen Elizabeth II, the UK's longest-serving monarch, has died aged 96, after reigning for 70 years.
136 days ago
Govt is drafting plans for revival of medical and hospital services – President
President Ratu Wiliame Katonivere says the government is drafting plans for the revival of medical and hospital services by improving and maintaining ...
4 hours ago
Tourism Fiji partners with PRF for the 2023 Global Recycling Day
The Pacific Recycling Foundation has confirmed a major partnership with Tourism Fiji in line with this year’s Global Recycling Day, to be held on ...
2 hours ago

Missing men at sea found
The three man reported missing at sea earlier have been found and are on their way back to be reunited will their families. Police say the engine ...
2 hours ago

Prakash sentenced to 36 months imprisonment
Former FijiFirst MP Vijendra Prakash has been sentenced to 36 months, and he will be serving 28 months in custody, with a non parole period of 22 ...
4 hours ago

Heavy rain warning and alert in force
A heavy rain warning remains in force for the Northern Division, Lau and Lomaiviti group and nearby smaller islands, Yasawa and Mamanuca ...
5 hours ago

Vernacular speaking allowed in Parliament
Vosa Vaka-Viti and Hindi language will now be allowed to be spoken in Parliament, and the Speaker of the Parliament is also allowed to pray the way ...
5 hours ago