30 May 2003

Fiji's information minister hits out at media campaign on bill

11:21 am on 30 May 2003

Fiji's information minister, Simione Kaitani, says he us frustrated at what he calls a concerted campaign by the media against the proposed Media Bill.

Mr Kaitani says it was always the government's intention that its draft Bill was flexible and open for consultation, but he says the media has swamped the process with negative publicity about it.

One of Fiji's most prominent businessman, Mahendra Motibhai Patel, says the Bill could set a dangerous precedent for future governments to become autocratic and adopt one-party rule.

But the minister welcomes submissions from the public sector.

"Opinions, like the ones expressed by Mr Patel, have certainly helped in the compiling of the final draft, but our media here tends to be overriding all this process by a massive orchestrated campaign, and they have successfully shifted the emphasis, which is on the need to consult on this draft bill, to government's control of the media."

Fiji's Minister of Information, Simione Kaitani