Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Fiji media council ban and mystery detentions 'deplorable': Freedom Forum

A Pacific media freedom and advocacy group, the Pacific Freedom Forum, deplores the arbitrary ban on the Fiji Media Council celebrating World Press Freedom Day on May 3, 2009.
The "authorities" in Fiji have refused the Fiji Media Council a permit to hold meetings to do with media freedom and advocacy.
"Under the so-called 'Emergency Decree', which passes for the Rule of Law in Fiji, the authorities have specifically banned political and media related meetings, and this still further compounds the appalling human rights situation now operative in Fiji," says Pacific Freedom Forum chair Susuve Laumaea.
"The Fiji Media Council is an established national media advocacy and self-regulating body which has every right to join with international colleagues to locally celebrate what is an internationally recognized day commemorating and promoting freedom of speech and media responsibility..

"Arbitrarily refusing the nation's peak media association a permit to celebrate World Press Freedom day is completely self-defeating. Fiji's harassed and intimidated journalists will nevertheless join in World Press Freedom Day celebrations, if only in their minds and hearts. Their situation will be widely recognised worldwide as Fiji under the current authorities joins the ranks of countries where freedom of association and freedom of speech, fundamental human rights, are severely restricted under threat of arbitrary sanction, newsroom closure, and worse."

The Pacific Freedom Forum also deplores the reported refusal by the Fiji "authorities" to allow the Red Cross to visit a number of activists associated with the Nationalist Vanua Tako Lavo Party, including Iliesa Duvuloco, reportedly detained for circulating a pamphlet critical of the current regime.
"The Red Cross has an internationally-recognised legal mandate to check on the welfare of detained people, irrespective of what side or position they may have taken in a conflict situation," notes co-chair Monica Miller.
"Clearly, denying the Red Cross access to these detainees is a gross violation not only of their fundamental human rights, but also of international law which mandates the Red Cross and similar organizations to access detainees to assess and provide for their safety and welfare."
Miller says the latest developments continue to point to a gravely deteriorating human rights environment in Fiji.


PFF interim Chair
Susuve Laumaea | Sunday Chronicle Newspaper | Papua New Guinea
Mobile: 675-684 5168 | Office: 675-321-7040 | Email:

PFF interim co-Chair
Monica Miller | KHJ Radio | American Samoa
Mob 684 258-4197 | Office 684 633-7793 | Email:

The Pacific Freedom Forum are a regional and global online network of Pacific media colleagues, with the specific intent of raising awareness and advocacy of the right of Pacific people to enjoy freedom of expression and be served by a free and independent media.
We believe in the critical and basic link between these freedoms, and the vision of democratic and participatory governance pledged by our leaders in their endorsement of the Pacific Plan and other commitments to good governance.
In support of the above, our key focus is monitoring threats to media freedom and bringing issues of concern to the attention of the wider regional and international community.

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