27 Jun 2012

Timing of new Fiji TV decree queried

2:17 pm on 27 June 2012

A Fiji-based academic says the timing of the military government's new television decree looks odd, especially after the controversy of whether a TV station was warned about its reporting.

The decree, gazetted over the weekend, means that any television station that doesn't abide by the Media Code of Ethics and Practice can have its licenced revoked.

Two weeks ago, the regime reportedly warned Fiji TV that its licence would not be renewed because of coverage given to some politicians.

The University of the South Pacific's head of journalism, Marc Edge, says it's like double jeopardy for the TV stations, because they are already subject to the code, and could be fined, or journalists imprisoned.

"The timing of it is a little bit odd, coming right on the heels of the controversy with whether or not they were warned to tone down their coverage of politics, particularly relating to their interviews of a couple of former Prime Ministers here, so, yes, the optics are not very good."

Fiji's attorney general, and minister for communication, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaihyum, was unavailable for comment.