February 05, 2007

Fiji features in Reporters Without Borders (RSF – Reporters San Frontiers) 2007 report

PARIS (RSF/Pacific Media Watch) - The Reporters Without Borders annual press freedom survey reports on press freedom in 98 countries and includes the main violations of journalists' rights in 2006 and regional aspects of media and internet freedom.

It includes a section on the crackdown on the media and free speech in Fiji following the December coup:

Fiji report

After threatening to apply a system of advance censorship, the military,
which took control at the beginning of December 2006 did offer some guarantees
to the press. But a crackdown on any criticism continued.

On 5 December 2006, public television interrupted its news programmes,
just a few hours after Commodore Frank Bainimarama announced he had taken power
in a military coup.
The TV announced that the Fiji Television "news service
would only resume broadcasting when it could be independent and free from
censorship." Likewise, the leading daily Fiji Times suspended publication and
two privately-owned radio stations Radio Fiji and Communications Fiji suspended
broadcasts, after visits from soldiers wanting to impose advance censorship on
them. Guards were posted in the media offices.

A few days later, the coup leaders guaranteed the independence of the
country's main media. Bainimarama said: "We have withdrawn our soldiers from the
media. We did not totally censor the press. But we wanted to prevent people from
exploiting the situation to incite people to disturb the peace that is currently
prevailing." The Fiji Daily Post, close to the ousted Prime Minister Laisenia
Qarase, was however threatened and suffered reprisals. The paper's editor, Dr
Robert Wolfgramm, an Australian national, was arrested and had his passport
confiscated and the family of a reporter on the paper, Jyoti Pratibha was
threatened by soldiers who were apparently searching for the daily's general
manager, Mesake Koroi.

The coup leaders also tried to gag other people, such as businessman
and former journalist, Imraz Iqbal, who was questioned after having an article
published in the magazine Fiji Living. Soldiers also threatened people who had
written letters highly critical of the coup to the letters

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Can this meduium try to investigate what is happening to Imraz Iqbal's office which was burnt down? How far has the police investigation into the matter and how is Imraz coping?