19 Jul 2008

Fears Fiji tribunal will undermine media

8:00 am on 19 July 2008

Media in Fiji are accusing the country's interim government of betraying undertakings it made to respect the freedom of the press.

Under a new law designed to regulate media, a tribunal will be established to consider appeals from any complaints lodged with Fiji's Media Council.

Media Council chair Darryl Tarte says the interim Attorney General had given an undertaking as recently as Wednesday that no legislation was planned.

The new law was then announced on Thursday.

Lobby group Reporters Without Borders says the tribunal can only undermine the respected Media Council.

On Friday self-appointed Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama told local radio elections will not be held in March next year, saying the timeline to implement electoral reforms could not be achieved.

The nation's military rulers had earlier given a pledge to hold elections in March to the leaders attending the Pacific Forum meeting earlier this week in Suva.