The Fijian Media Association has welcomed and celebrates cabinet’s decision to table a Bill in Parliament to repeal the draconian Media Industry Development Act 2010.
They say this has been a long time coming for Fiji’s media workers who have struggled to operate freely under this law while carrying the threat and burden of the punitive law every day they have turned up to work for the past 12 years.
In a statement they say the threat and that burden is being lifted.
It further says the news has been welcomed by editors and journalists as a historic moment for the Fiji media and a ‘big win for democracy and media freedom’.
General Secretary Stanley Simpson says the MIDA Act 2010 and its subsequent amendments has restricted media development and suppressed media freedom in Fiji for over 12 years and the FMA in its submission to government has been adamant that the Act be repealed.
He says the excessive fines hanging over the heads of the media organisations and editors was threatening and not conducive to media freedom, and designed to be vindictive, punish and control the media rather that encourage better reporting standards.
Simpson says the FMA advocated to bring back the media freedom Fiji was renowned for prior to 2006 including bringing back the situation that existed prior to 2006, and that is media self regulation through the Fiji Media Council, an organisation made up of media organisations and community reps to handle complaints and media standards.
The Association says in its 12 years of existence no cases appeared before MIDA or its non-existent Tribunal, highlighting how ineffective it has been for media development, but solely designed to be used as a tool for media suppression.
It says the backbone of any democracy is an independent, strong and responsible media that reports, critiques, analyses and stimulate debates that are vital to the democratic process.
The FMA expresss its appreciation to the coalition government for following through on their promise to remove the draconian law, and allow the media to do its work in holding government and people in authority accountable.
Stay tuned for the latest news on our radio stations