24 Jan 2008

Fiji human rights commissioner shocked over police action against Fiji TV team

5:14 pm on 24 January 2008

A Fiji human rights commissioner says detaining a TV crew for filming a school dispute breaches media freedom and basic human rights.

A Fiji TV crew was questioned for five hours yesterday after police said it disobeyed an order to leave the scene.

Police argued the crew was interfering with police business, but the crew replied it had every right to film the dispute because the school management invited it to the scene.

Shamima Ali says the incident was shocking.

"What happened, we watched it on TV. It was just totally unbelievable, but this is what Fiji has come to. The strong arm tactics being used by the security forces, even the police are behaving like the military. It has grave consequences for media freedom and any kind of freedom based on rights in this country."

Shamima Ali

Fiji TV will reportedly lodge a complaint with the Police Commissioner and the Media Council over the incident.