4 Apr 2014

Fiji media authority imposes new rules on political rallies

2:47 pm on 4 April 2014

The Fiji Media Industry Development Authority says it will now keep a closer eye on the media and public debate leading up to the September elections.

Yesterday the Chairman of MIDA, Ashwin Raj, said he was perturbed by the level of public discourse, after receiving a complaint about "hate speech" at a political meeting with the Prime Minister.

Mr Raj says parties will have to submit translations of speeches in the vernacular i-Taukei, before political rallies, and all freelance journalists living in Fiji need to be registered and declare who they work for.

Ratu Timoci Vesikula had warned the Prime Minister against Indo-Fijians and said even though they have lived together for a long time 'you can't mix water with kerosene'.

Mr Raj says he is seeking legal opinion on whether to fine Fiji TV, which aired the comments.

The media decree allows for penalties of up to $55,000 US dollars and possible jail terms.