4 Apr 2014

Fiji TV censured for broadcasting so-called hate speech

4:49 am on 4 April 2014

A Fiji television station has been censured for broadcasting so-called hate speech and the Fiji media has been warned it will be closely monitored in the lead up to the election.

The country's Media Industry Development Authority has ruled Fiji TV breached the constitution and the Media Decree for airing certain comments by a provincial chief this week during a visit by the regime leader Rear Admiral Frank Bainimarama.

The chief, Ratu Timoci Vesikula, is reported to have made remarks around Rear Admiral Bainimarama's stance on indigenous matters.

The media authority's chairman, Ashwin Raj, described the comments as nothing short of hate speech and Fiji TV failed to comply with the media code of ethics in the decree.

Mr Raj told a press conference the ruling could not be dismissed as yet another instance of gagging media freedom.

He says the body known as MIDA will closely monitor the tenor of public discourse in the lead up to the elections in September and the role of the media.

It's seeking legal opinion on whether to fine Fiji TV which faces penalties of up to 55,000 US dollars.