2 Oct 2006

Chaudhry comments on Fiji media bill

4:05 pm on 2 October 2006

Fiji's Labour leader is denying he wanted the government's controversial Broadcasting Licensing Bill pushed through parliament in its initial form.

Fierce opposition to the proposed legislation has forced the government to send the bill back to cabinet for major amendments.

The bill proposed that a body appointed by the minister for information have powers to control programming and advertising content.

There were claims by the Labour party vice president, Krishna Datt, that his leader, Mahendra Chaudhry backed the original bill.

Mr Datt said he asked Mr Chaudhry at a caucus meeting what his stance was and believed he supported it.

But Mr Chaudhry disputes this.

"What is his basis for making this statement? I haven't spoken on this bill yet. The sector committee has suggested a number of amendments to the bill and I supported the bill inclusive of these amendments."

Fiji media have welcomed the government's move to review the bill.