11 Feb 2012

IFJ wary about Fiji defamation decree

8:09 am on 11 February 2012

The International Federation of Journalists is advising caution regarding the latest media-related decree by the Fiji regime.

Fiji's new State Proceedings Amendment Decree grants full exemption from defamation claims for any private or public statements made by the regime's leader and his ministers.

The IFJ says the best way to encourage positive public discussion is to ensure all people, including the media, have the right to ask legitimate questions of government, and hold public figures accountable for their statements.

The interim government, however, has said the decree will restore a level playing field and protect the media.

An Auckland University law professor, Bill Hodge, has told the ABC that to say the decree is consistent with parliamentary privilege is berserk, bananas and bizarre.