31 Aug 2012

Fiji media still not free: women's rights groups

3:38 pm on 31 August 2012

Women's rights organisations in Fiji are raising fresh concerns about censorship, following their failure to get a paid advertisement about constitutional processes into newspapers.

In July, the Fiji Women's Crisis Centre, the Fiji Women's Rights Movement and Femlink Pacific put together a joint statement questioning the legitimacy and other aspects of the process being used to draft a new constitution.

The crisis centre's co-ordinator says when media outlets did not give the release any exposure the groups decided this month to pay for an advertisement posing the same questions.

Shamima Ali says the fact that newspapers felt unable to print the adverstisement confirms the Fiji media is still not free.

"These are ordinary, normal citizens' concerns that we are expressing. We are not a political party, we don't have a political agenda. We need to know before we can participate and we believe people need to know and get these answers."

Shamima Ali says plainclothes police are sitting in while people present submissions, stopping many of them from expressing their opinions.