It is a historic day for the country after the launch of the Fiji Media Council as it had become defunct in 2009 when the Media Industry Development Decree was forcefully brought in by the interim government.
While launching the Fiji Media Council today, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Communications, Manoa Kamikamica says since the repeal of Media Industry Development Act or MIDA, there has been a lot of work progressing to establish an independent Fiji Media Council, and he is pleased to announce that the composition of this important body has been finalised.
Kamikamica says this is a historic day for Fiji as we see the formation of a self regulated council for the media run by public members.
He says this is all about maintaining a diverse and responsible media landscape, building trust, and promoting transparency between media professionals and the public.
Kamikamica says the Coalition Government is fully committed to supporting the Fiji Media Council in its endeavors.
The Deputy Prime Minister says the Fiji Media Council comprises a diverse group of individuals who are committed to upholding the highest journalistic standards, defending media independence, freedom, and proactively addressing public concerns.
He congratulated Agatha Ferei-Furivai who was unanimously elected as Chair of the Fiji Media Council today, as well as the members of the Council – Laisa Bale, Shirleen Sahai, Naina Ragigia, Arshad Daud, Marc McElrath and Inoke Bainimarama.
Kamikamica says the main goal of the Fiji Media Council is to promote self-regulation and uphold high standards in the media industry.
Chair of the Fiji Media Council, Agatha Ferei-Furivai who is also a former public member of the previous Fiji Media Council says she would like to pay tribute to the former members of the Fiji Media Council whose shoes will be very hard to fill, and those that are here will try their best to do that.
The Chair says she knows like many others, it has not been an easy journey to be in the media industry, and there have been dark moments.
She thanks all media companies in Fiji that continue to exist and are still prevalent in our society today, despite the challenges over about 16 years.
While speaking at the Fiji Times training room today, Communications Fiji Limited News Director and Fijian Media Association Executive Committee Member, Vijay Narayan says they remember the room where the launch was taking place very well, because for some of them it was the last meeting venue of the Fiji Media Council in 2009.
Narayan says some of them are still standing for the media, freedom of speech and expression despite all the challenges that have been faced over the past years.
He says true democracy is at play for the people and the media acknowledges the government of the day, for first of all repealing the Media Industry Development Decree, which eventually became an Act.
Narayan also says the media is united and shows it’s full support to the Fiji Media Council, and also respects the independence of the self regulated body.
Fijian Media Association, Stanley Simpson says many people don’t fully appreciate the devastating damage of the last 15 years.
Simpson says it did not only become a matter of raising standards, but a matter of survival for many.
He says they are so thankful to the Communications Minister for his understanding and respect for the democratic principles of media freedom, which is one of the cornerstones of any effective democracy the world over.
The Fiji Media Council will soon publish it’s business contact emails and phone numbers, and also promote the complaints mechanisms in place.
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