28 Aug 2006

PINA says Fiji media bill seriously flawed

6:19 pm on 28 August 2006

The Pacific Island News Association says the Fiji government's Broadcasting Licensing Bill is seriously flawed.

PINA's president, Ken Clark, made the comment following an announcement by the information minister that there will be no changes to the bill despite fierce opposition from the media industry.

Isireli Leweniqila has reportedly said that he doesn't see anything wrong with the proposed legislation.

But Mr Clark says the bill - which would give a politically appointed body the powers to control a broadcaster's programming and news - is of major concern.

He says it puts far too much power in the hands of a government minister, and it would be a shame if Fiji's long tradition of media freedom were to disappear.

"The issue is a media freedom issue and that's what PINA is about. Our view is that it should not be anyone in government telling the media what they should or should not broadcast or print."

Mr Clark says it would not be in the Pacific's interest if the Fiji government's approach caught on elsewhere in the region.