24 Jun 2008

Fiji Media Council says media independence threatened

3:28 pm on 24 June 2008

The chair of Fiji's media council says the independence of the media is under severe threat.

Speaking after the launch of a book on media and development in the Pacific Islands, Daryl Tarte, said the whole industry is concerned at threats of statutory regulation of the media.

He says he has met recently the interim Prime Minister, and is looking forward to meeting again.

"He said he would like to have another meeting again with the media, and we are waiting for them to notify us when they would like to meet. And we'll certainly engage with him as soon as they set up a time. The initiative is with the interim government, if they want to meet with the media and try and improve the relationship, we're very happy to do so but we can't very well take the initiative on the matter."

Daryl Tarte says the media is gravely concerned at the actions of the Fiji Human Rights Commission, particularly after a report that says there were no human rights breaches in the deportation of two newspaper publishers, Russell Hunter and Evan Hannah.