20 May 2003

Fiji media accused of orchestrating campaign against media bill

7:20 am on 20 May 2003

Fiji's information minister has accused the local media of running an orchestrated campaign against the government and its Media Bill.

Radio Fiji quotes Simione Kaitani as saying this has diverted the public's attention from important issues in the proposed bill.

Mr Kaitani has urged journalists to voice their opinions on the bill during public hearings, which over the past week, have attracted only four submissions in Lautoka, Labasa and Suva.

Meanwhile, there has been further criticism of the bill which has been described as mean, draconian and an outright attempt to gag the media because the minister will make key appointments to the proposed new Media Council.

The Fiji Council of Churches has come out strongly against the bill, saying there is no need to bring in any media legislation.