30 Jun 2014

Amnesty calls for Fiji free speech

7:15 am on 30 June 2014

Amnesty International is calling for the end of harassment of journalists in Fiji ahead of the country's upcoming election.

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Photo: USP

Its comments come after a Government body, the Media Industry and Development Authority, called two journalism academics at Fiji's University of the South Pacific "reckless and ill-informed".

MIDA wants the academics investigated for commenting on an apparent admission by the military that it used torture.

Amnesty Australia's spokesperson, Michael Hayworth, says attacks against the media are one of the most serious violations of the right to freedom of expression.

"Freedom of the press and freedom of speech is an incredibly important right but it is more important in the leadup to the elections, realistically harrassment of journalists that we have seen just recently - this investigation gives us more cause for concern that we won't have the kind of free speech that this country needs in the leadup to the elections.

Michael Hayworth says the media must be allowed to freely publish information concerning the elections, including criticisms of the government and candidates, without fear of retribution.