By Kelly Vacala in Suva
The safety of media personnel has come under the spotlight again after an attack on a Fiji Broadcasting Corporation television journalist on Monday.
A remand prisoner threw a stone at an FBC news reporter while in the presence of a police escort outside the Suva courts.
The police at the scene refused to take any action against the remand prisoner even though the reporter was also verbally abused.
FBC journalist Praneeta Prakash was shooting footage of a man sentenced in a corruption related case in Suva when a remand prisoner being escorted by police to the cell block threw a stone at her which struck her stomach.
Fijian Media Association general secretary Stanley Simpson said reporters covered court stories in order to inform the public and to ensure that justice was served under the law.
“The journalist needs to be left to do their work because in the end it benefits everyone,” he said.
“We saw a Fiji TV reporter was manhandled, we saw a Fiji Sun reporter get attacked recently, and now we see the terrible incident of a stone being thrown at a journalist.
Journalist ‘has every right’
“In these public spaces, and especially in the public interest, the journalist has every right to be there to take footage.”
Police spokesperson Ana Naisoro said a thorough investigation on the incident would be carried out.
“We have had some incidents where members of the public have attacked journalists again. We would request them to respect the rights of the journalist. They are simply doing their jobs, they’re not breaking any law.”
Fiji Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Commission Director Ashwin Raj said it was “deeply concerning” that journalists were exposed to such situations and they must have a safe environment where media was able to discharge its duties.
Kelly Vacala is an FBC News journalist.
Watch the attack item on FBC TV News at 2min28sec.