8 Apr 2010

Former Fiji Sun publisher says media decree worse than expected

9:44 am on 8 April 2010

A former publisher of the newspaper the Fiji Sun, says the media decree proposed by the interim government is worse than expected.

Russell Hunter, the first of three Australian publishers to be deported in 2008, says Fiji's media has already suffered in the past year from the censorship rules imposed under the public emergency regulations.

He says the proposed media decree, revealed yesterday, will put the media even more under the thumb of the interim government.

Mr Hunter says the worse provision in the decree is the one that will allow journalists to be jailed for up to five years and media organisations to be fined up to half a million Fiji dollars.

He says the industry won't survive if the planned Media Industry Development Authority goes ahead.

"There is no possibility whereby journalists can dispute or challenge decisions of this body. It is very clear that is can not be challenged in court, criminal or civil."

Russell Hunter, former publisher and chief executive of the Fiji Sun.