22 May 2003

Fiji media bill draws further fire

6:06 pm on 22 May 2003

Fiji's proposed Media Bill has come under more fierce attack despite its defence by pro-government people.

A former UNESCO media advisor and Fiji national, Jim Bentley, says the Media Bill is aimed at replacing the current independent Media Council with a government-controlled organisation.

Mr Bentley says controlled information is not advantageous to the public and is undemocratic.

And he says political decisions relating to what people see, hear and think are retrograde steps and subject to power group manipulation.

Mr Bentley says the proposed legislation is misguided if the government hopes to raise journalism and other professional media standards.

And a Fiji national, Sue Cauty, has told the government that limiting the freedom of the media to speak on behalf of citizens, to unmask corruption and expose blatant disregard of state regulations means that the government would move the goa posts to remain in power.

Mrs Cauty says the citizens of Fiji will be fed placebos to lull them into a false sense of security while those in power grow rich at the nation's expense.

She warns that a limited media will be forced to be a false media.