6 Dec 2006

Media restrictions imposed by Fiji military a violation of constitution - media council

9:38 am on 6 December 2006

The Fiji military has imposed censorship restrictions on the local media and placed soldiers at all Suva media outlets.

This comes just hours after the military commander, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, declared himself head of state and dismissed the government.

Walter Zweifel reports.

"The military says it wants to stop incitement and sees no need for the deposed prime minister to make any statements. The head of the Media Council, Darryl Tarte, says this is a violation of the constitution and goes against yesterday's statement by the military commander that he would be upholding basic rights, such as freedom of speech. Faced with censorship, the Fiji Times failed to be published today. Last Sunday, the Daily Post said its Australian publisher was supporting applications for political asylum in Australia for his staff in the face of the military's threat. Despite the censorship local radio still carries police comments, denouncing last night's military takeover."