22 Apr 2013

Pragmatism urged for Fiji journalists awaiting democracy

2:39 pm on 22 April 2013

A leading Fiji media figure says the industry must abide by the rules of the regime in the interests of the long-term path back to democracy.

Matai Akauola has defended his role in the regime-appointed Media Industry Development Authority while attending the just-completed Pacific Parliamentarians Forum in Wellington.

Other Fiji delegates at the Forum voiced concern about the restrictions on media freedom in Fiji, where media operators face jail terms of up to five years for referring to sidelined political parties.

Mr Akauola, who is also Manager and Training Coordinator at the Pacific Islands News Association, admits the conditions are testing but says journalists must be pragmatic.

"They are moving towards democracy, which is good; so for us, it's not the time to derail the process. But for now we need to continue to engage and get our views in because if not, you'll have other people who do not know anything about the media and they will sort of put draconian rules in place that is more or less keeping us out of it in totality."

Matai Akauola