8 Mar 2007

Fiji's media council condemns military regime's treatment of journalists

8:09 pm on 8 March 2007

Fiji's media council says the military has made threatening phone calls to journalists and intimidated them to the point that they are too frightened to report the true situation in the country.

The Media Council has condemned the military's continued abuse of the constitution's bill of rights, which guarantees freedom of expression.

It says journalists have been threatened and it believes its unacceptable for senior newspaper officials to be taken into the army barracks for questioning.

The council's chairman, Daryl Tarte, says the military undertook to respect media freedom, but this is not happening.

"Journalists feel intimidated by the military to the point where they are reluctant to search too deeply into stories and as a result the media owners themselves are concerned for the safety of journalists so they've stopped putting in bylines to stories about the military."

Mr Tarte says he's urging the military commander, Commodore Frank Bainimarama to impress upon his staff to be more humane and respect the bill of rights.