From: "Pacific Media Watch nius" <pacific_media_
Date: Sat, November 21, 2009 14:31
To: "Pacific Media Watch" <pacific_media_
Title 6550 FIJI: Regime denies revoking broadcast licences
Date 22 November 2009
Origin Pacific Media Watch
Source Radio New Zealand 22/10/09
* Pacific Media Watch Online - check the website for archive and links:
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FIJI DENIES FURTHER CLAMPDOWN ON MEDIA
SUVA (Radio New Zealand/Pacific Media Watch): The military-led regime
in Fiji is rejecting claims it has revoked broadcasting licences to
clamp down further on the media.
Australia's Foreign Minister Stephen Smith says the authorities in Suva
have made changes to broadcasting arrangements, effectively seizing all
Smith says the action has been carried out by decree, which no court or
other agency can overturn and the move is an escalation of the regime's
efforts to impose itself on its critics.
Fiji broadcasters say they are having to justify their continued use of
radio and television frequencies.
Australian media reported television and radio stations were
broadcasting this weekend on a temporary basis while awaiting a
directive from Fiji's Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum.
Sayed-Khaiyum, also Communications Minister, is regarded as the
government's second most powerful figure after military commander Prime
Minister Frank Bainimarama.
Sayed-Khaiyum says he has acted to help prepare the country for the
digital broadcasting age and believes the decree will assist the people
"The government of Fiji has put in place a decree to deal with spectrum
planning which will then allow Fiji to position itself very well for
the digital age. It's to plan our future better in the broadcast area,"
But the Media Freedom Committee in New Zealand, which represents
journalists, editors and publishers, describes what has happened as
more of the same by a very repressive regime.
Committee secretary Tim Pankhurst told Radio New Zealand he is saddened
by the action.
"I'm afraid this is more of the same from a very repressive regime. Our
journalism colleagues in Fiji operate under extremely difficult
circumstances with censors in their newsroom. It's another drop in the
Pankhurst believes pressure should be put on the interim regime.
Australian Foreign Minister Stephen Smith says he will raise the issues
surrounding Fiji's military regime with his counterparts at the
Commonwealth Foreign Ministers' Meeting in Trinidad and Tobago,
beginning on Tuesday.
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