26 Aug 2006

Fiji government puts pressure on country's media

6:08 am on 26 August 2006

The Fiji government is putting renewed pressure on the country's print media by saying it will re-introduce the Media Bill which lapsed under the last government.

Radio Fiji says the announcement comes just days after the introduction of the Broadcast Licensing Bill which will put the country's radio and television stations under the control of politicians who will have the power to regulate programme content and good taste

The minister for information, Isireli Leweniqila, has confirmed that the Media Bill first introduced by his counterpart in the last government, Simione Kaitani, and the subject of fierce criticism both within Fiji and overseas, will be reintroduced.

The editor-in-chief of The Fiji Sun, Russell Hunter, says if it is the same Bill, then it will receive the same intense resistance from the media and the public.

The publisher of The Fiji Times, Tony Yianni, says the old Bill was unconstitutional.

The chief executive of the state-owned Fiji Broadcasting Corporation, Francis Herman, says he is disappointed that the government is introducing another Bill to control the content of the media.