Fiji’s draconian media law to be repealed for ‘free society’, says Gavoka

Fiji Deputy Prime Minister Viliame Gavoka
Fiji Deputy Prime Minister Viliame Gavoka . . . "we live in a totally free country." Image: The Fiji Times

By Pauliasi Mateboto in Suva

Fiji Deputy Prime Minister Viliame Gavoka says the Media Industry Development Act will be replaced soon.

Speaking to members of the media after the coalition agreement signing for Fiji’s new government on Friday, he said the three leaders were in harmony in terms of repealing the Act.

“Absolutely free, we want to remove any kind of prohibitions and restrictions,” Gavoka said.

He said it was the wish of the coalition government for the media to be free and for the people of Fiji to live in a free society.

“We want you to be totally free to act and that is also the part of understanding — we live in a totally free country,” he said.

Pacific Media Watch reports that Associate Professor Shailendra Singh, head of the University of the South Pacific regional journalism programme, commented on Twitter:

“Fiji’s much-criticised punitive Media Act to be replaced — question is replaced with what? Since its implementation 13 yrs ago no one has been charged under the Act underscoring its redundancy.

“But it was like a noose [around the] media’s neck and blamed for self-censorship/chilling effect.”

Pauliasi Mateboto is a Fiji Times reporter. Republished with permission.

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