The head of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Mark Scott, says a free media is vital to keep in check those who can get intoxicated by power.
Speaking at the Pacific Media Summit in Vanuatu and referring to the clampdown in Fiji, Mr Scott says the interim regime's measures are the alibi of the autocrat.
He says the restrictions ignore the lessons of history.
"The experience around the world is that a free and independent media is a cornerstone in a society that demonstrates good governance, in the interests of all it's people. It operates alongside a judiciary that should be incorruptible, law enforcement that is respected and trusted, political leaders who are accountable."
Mark Scott says a free and functioning, independent media provides the best disinfectant for the political system.