31 Oct 2008

Fiji regime asked to safeguard freedom of expression

1:35 pm on 31 October 2008

A regional media group, the Pacific Freedom Forum, has called on Fiji's interim government to respect and safeguard the right to freedom of expression as enshrined in the constitution.

The group says the push by Fiji's interim Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum to force disclosure on a letter to the Editor published in the Fiji Times is fuelling an ongoing campaign of intimidation against the media in Fiji.

Its chair, Susuve Laumaea of Papua New Guinea, says seeking a court order to force a newspaper to divulge information given in the assurance that the source of the information would be kept confidential seems a bit heavy handed.

He says as this follows the forceful deportation of two newspaper publishers from Fiji, the court order seems to perpetuate the culture of threats and intimidation that journalists in Fiji have been subjected to since the 2006 military coup.