3 Feb 2010

NZ Green Party questions Fiji sedition law

2:12 pm on 3 February 2010

The sedition and inciting laws included in the Fiji's updating of the penal code are being questioned by New Zealand's Green Party.

Fiji's Crimes Decree that was drawn up by the interim government came into effect this month.

It includes detailed sedition and incitement offences.

The New Zealand Green Party's Foreign Affairs spokesperson, Keith Locke, who has campaigned against sedition laws in this country, says the laws outlined in the crime decree are too extensive:

"I was particularly worried when I looked at the sedition laws where people can be thrown in jail for such things as raising discontent or disaffection among the inhabitants of Fiji, which can be anything the government wants to determine as illegitimate criticism of themselves."

Mr Locke says the new provisions can be used by an authoritarian government to clamp down on any criticism including comments made by Fiji citizens living abroad or those posted on the internet.

Introducing the decree last year, Fiji's interim Attorney General said the updating of the Penal Code was needed to modernise Fiji's crimes law and bring them into line with international obligations over such things as women's and children's rights.