25 Mar 2008

Fiji Human Rights Commission rejects NZ foreign minister criticism

4:29 pm on 25 March 2008

Fiji's Human Rights Commission has rejected comments by the New Zealand foreign minister, Winston Peters, who criticised a recent report the group commissioned on media freedom.

The commission's chair, Dr Shaista Shameem, says Mr Peters relied on uneducated and uninformed advice when he wrote an opinion piece for the New Zealand Herald.

Mr Peters said the report on media freedom recommended actions at odds with human rights principles.

But Dr Shameem said the report was a good critique of media neo-colonialism, paternalism and racism.

She says Mr Peters' own government has recently passed the draconian Electoral Finance Act which prohibits the public from criticising his government during the whole of election year.