3 Apr 2014

Fiji Electoral Decree gives govt access to public's phone calls and internet

3:10 pm on 3 April 2014

The Fiji Law Society says a decree provision allowing phone monitoring in the days before the election is open to abuse.

Section 63 of the Electoral Decree says any person is prohibited from communicating political messages by telephone, internet, email, social media or other electronic means 48 hours before polls open.

Violating the decree can result in a 27,000 US dollar fine, or 10 years in jail.

The Law Society president, Dorsami Naidu, says the provision was included to try to control the Fiji public.

Mr Naidu says it technically gives the government the authority to use surveillance on its citizens and monitor what they are saying about election issues.

"Though we won't be privy to what our own secret surveillance people do, or what the government does, it's open to abuse. Political parties and individuals can be targeted in the name of this decree, and that may affect the elections."

Dorsami Naidu.