An amendment has been made to the Media Industry Development Decree that now gives a state owned media organization a further exemption for pay television services.
This would give state owned broadcaster, Fiji Broadcasting Corporation, the option to get into a joint venture with foreign companies as long as FBC owns 15 percent of the shares in a Pay TV venture.
Under the new amendment gazetted by the President, it states that the sections in the Media Decree dealing with foreign ownership and cross media ownership do not apply for any media organization that broadcasts only entertainment programs via pay TV if the organization operates in a joint venture or partnership with a state owned media organization.
The exemption states that the state owned media organization shall hold at least 15 percent of the joint venture or partnership and there shall be at least one representative of the state owned media organization on the board of the joint venture.
Under the 2010 Media Decree, the ownership rules for other media organizations is that they can only have 10 percent foreign ownership and 90 percent of the company has to be owned by Fiji citizens permanently residing in Fiji.
Only the state owned media organization is allowed to run more than one type of medium under the current cross media ownership laws.
We have sent questions to the Attorney General and Public Enterprises Minister Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum on the reason behind the amendment and whether state owned broadcaster FBC is planning to go into a joint venture with a foreign company.
We have also sent questions to the CEO of FBC Riyaz Sayed-Khaiyum.
Story by: Vijay Narayan