Deputy Prime Minister, Manoa Kamikamica says he was worried when he saw FijiFirst MP, Aliki Bia’s parliamentary question on the repealed Media Industry Development Act today, and whether the opposition MP wanted to get MIDA back.
Kamikamica stressed today that from the government side, MIDA has gone into the dustbin of history, and that is where it will remain.
He says when we say Media Development Act of 2010 or MIDA, it brings up images of concern and repression, and in fact the removal of MIDA has been the cause of much celebration and exuberance.
Bia had asked Kamikamica - With the enactment of the MIDA (Repeal) Act 2023 which also removed the Code of Conduct, Standards and Advertising Guidelines, can the Deputy Prime Minister inform parliament on the protection in place and the avenue for restitution.
Kamikamica told parliament that the repeal of MIDA on 14th April 2023 does not mean that there is no longer a code of conduct for journalists in Fiji.
He says the government has taken the time to listen to the journalists and it is clear that the journalists and media organisations understand their role in society.
Kamikamica says the bottom line is that the repeal of the law was necessary to safeguard the media’s independence while ensuring the public’s right to be informed accurately and fairly, and in fact, a Code of Ethics was developed by the Fijian Media Association and will continue to be adhered to by the media organisations and journalists.
He says it sets out the ethical principles that journalists should uphold in their work.
Kamikamica says there are also international best practices and standards which the government expects the media organisations and journalists to adhere to.
He says one of the most widely used Code of Ethics for journalists globally is the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics.
The Deputy Prime Minister says it sets out the ethical principles that journalists should uphold in their work, including truthfulness, accuracy and impartiality.
He says for a very long time Fiji did not have a free media – a media that is essential for a functioning democracy but in the “New Fiji” the coalition government has done it.
Kamikamica says in addition to this, we have laws in place including on defamation and the right to privacy and protection of children.
He also says the Fiji Media Council is about to be established to ensure that the industry is self regulated – a sign of true democracy.
He also says alongside this, the Consumer Council of Fiji and Fijian Competition and Consumer Commission can receive complaints from the public on various matters, including this.
He also this is particularly FCCC’s Act Section 78, and he urges people all to read it up.
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