15 May 2003

Fiji Media says emphatic "no" to proposed Media Bill

4:01 pm on 15 May 2003

The Fiji media has launched a stinging attack on the government's proposed Media Bill, saying it is a blatant attempt to control what the public are allowed to know.

A meeting of the Fiji Media Council in Suva has agreed to strongly oppose the bill, which gives the minister for information powers to make key appointments.

The chairman of the Media Council, Daryl Tarte, says the proposed legislation would be a major breach of media freedom.

The managing director of Communications Fiji Limited, William Parkinson, says there is no need for any legislation because the Fiji Media Council already exists to deal with complaints.

Fiji TV chief executive Ken Clarke says the media council is already carrying out the role of media watchdog.

The editor of the Fiji Sun, Iliesa Tora, says they oppose any form of legislative control because it would mean restrictions on media freedom.

In an editorial today, the Fiji Times says to pursue this bill will damage the country's credibility both locally and internationally, and may deter overseas investors and foreign aid donors.