13 Feb 2012

Motives questioned behind Fiji's anti-defamation decree

5:22 am on 13 February 2012

Motives behind Fiji's latest decree are being questioned by members of the legal profession.

The interim government says the State Proceedings Amendment Decree will restore a level playing field and protect media outlets during the lead-up to parliamentary polls promised for 2014.

But with no parliament in Fiji, the notion of so-called parliamentary privilege is being called ridiculous.

Jenny Meyer reports

"A lawyer in Fiji says the anti-defamation decree was prompted by at least one threat to sue the interim Attorney General for potentially slanderous public comments earlier this year. A Suva-based lawyer, who wishes to remain anonymous, says the Attorney General's stated claims of facilitating constitutional dialogue ring hollow because the State Proceedings Amendment decree only applies to those in power. He says the decree does not protect other politicians and is clearly one sided. He says it seems Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum has given himself parliamentary privilege to attack his opponents but denied them equal rights."

This is JM