17 Sep 2014

Watchdog hits out at Fiji media ban

2:32 pm on 17 September 2014

Reporters Without Borders has condemned the media blackout in Fiji this week before today's election.

The Electoral Decree banned all reporting on political campaigns from Monday morning, with the punishment for offending up to ten years in jail and 25,000 US dollars.

The head of the Reporters Without Borders Asia-Pacific desk, Benjamin Ismaïl, says the scale of censorship is out of proportion.

The Director of AUT University's Pacific Media Centre, Professor David Robie, says he agrees, and the rules seem to include international media organisations, which is impossible to enforce.

"Banning all political comment for several days, for a 48-hour period and introducing prior censorship is both draconian and unenforceable."

Professor David Robie says one of his student journalists reporting from Fiji had an article on Fiji's economic relations with China put on hold by the authorities, until 6pm tonight, as it dealt with the political situation.