29 Aug 2006

Opposition to controversial media law change in Fiji grows

7:00 pm on 29 August 2006

The Fiji Women's Rights Movement is adding its voice to concerns that media freedom could be lost if the Broadcasting Licensing Bill is passed.

The bill would usher in a government appointed broadcasting licensing authority.

The move has been criticised as seriously flawed by broadcasters and an international media watchdog group.

The spokesperson for the Women's Right Movement, Tara Chetty, says there is potential for serious abuse of power if the bill is passed.

"In effect that could be quite dangerous for the future of a free media in Fiji, because the authority would have quite far reaching powers in order to fine media organisations that would stay outside the guidelines that they set. This could potentially mean censuring of content."

Ms Chetty says the bill also makes no specific provisions to ensure that women and their views are adequately represented.

The government is currently conducting public hearings on the bill.