30 Jun 2010

Fiji business wary about Media Decree implications

1:32 pm on 30 June 2010

The president of Fiji's Chamber of Commerce says many businesses are concerned that the new media decree could deter overseas investors while the interim government says the decree is good for the economy and human rights.

Swani Maharaj says the provision that 90 percent of a media outlet be locally owned seems too hard to comply with for the Australian owners of the Fiji Times newspaper.

Mr Maharaj also says the deadline for the company to sell off its foreign stake to Fiji interests in three months seems unrealistic.

He says other sectors now fear a drop in the number of partners to invest in Fiji businesses.

"But we are concerned that if today it's the media, it could be other sectors tomorrow. That's the concern we are having. We may like to source joint venture partners and so forth. And we definitely need investment in the country because of the global economic depression but it may become a deterrent. People will be careful not to come in and put their dollars in when they don't know when the government will put in a legislation and requesting them to localise their shares."

Fiji's Chamber of Commerce president Swani Maharaj.