27 Mar 2014

Fiji media monitoring unit welcome move - CCF

2:42 pm on 27 March 2014

The Citizen's Constutitonal Forum in Fiji says while a planned independent media monitoring unit is a welcome step, whether it will work in practise is questionable.

The Media Industry Development Authority says it will set up a five-member body to monitor whether media organisations are giving equal access to all political parties in the lead up to September's elections.

The head of the Forum, the Reverend Akuila Yabaki, says such a move is acknowledging that the media is not independent and coverage of all parties is not always fair.

But he says whether such a body can be independent from the government is unknown.

"Obviously they're aware that the media is not independent and they still suffer under self-censorship. If this is a way of ensuring that standards are raised in terms of media independence and freedom of expression, which is needed for free and fair elections, then I think that's a step in the right direction but the taste is in the eating actually."

Reverend Yabaki says he is looking forward to finding out more about how and when the unit will be set up, with the elections planned to be in just six months.