10 Feb 2012

Regional media group dismayed at latest Fiji decree

3:22 pm on 10 February 2012

Fiji's journalists are being warned to steer clear of the latest media-related decree and adhere to ethical standards to guide their reporting of regime speeches and statements.

The warning comes in response to the new State Proceedings Amendment Decree, which grants Fiji's regime leader and his ministers exemption from defamation suits over anything they may say in public or private.

The Pacific Freedom Forum's Titi Gabi says defamation and libel restrictions are cornerstones of journalism ethics and the practice applies whether a country has defamation laws or not.

She says a leadership which protects itself but not its people from defamation suits cannot expect that to be welcome news.

Ms Gabi says of all the decrees introduced by the regime this is the most blatant in its elitist protection of the regime leader and his ministers.

She calls for it to be immediately revoked, saying the claim it will foster and open public debate because the media won't be facing defamation lawsuits over any stories quoting the regime leadership is a farce.