From: "Pacific Media Watch nius" <pacific_media_
Date: Fri, November 20, 2009 16:17
To: "Pacific Media Watch" <pacific_media_
Title 6547 FIJI: Regime strips licences from broadcasters
Date 21 November 2009
Byline Rowan Callick
Origin Pacific Media Watch
Source The Australian 21/10/09
* Pacific Media Watch Online - check the website for archive and links:
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FIJI STRIPS LICENCES FROM BROADCASTERS
By Rowan Callick
SYDNEY (The Australian/Pacific Media Watch): The military-installed
Fiji government has removed all broadcasting licences and given
Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum the absolute power to renew or
redistribute them without any compensation to those whose licences are
Television and radio stations are broadcasting this weekend on a
temporary basis, as the owner, managers, staff and audiences await the
determinations of Sayed-Khaiyum.
He is the second-most powerful figure in the government after military
commander and prime minister Frank Bainimarama.
Sayed-Khaiyum is also Minister for Justice, Anti-Corruption, Public
Enterprises, Industry, Investment and Tourism, and Communications.
The action was carried out this week by decree - the chief tool of
government since the Parliament was scrapped and the constitution
The decree states that no compensation can be claimed as a result of
the cancellation or reallocation of a broadcasting licence, and that no
court, tribunal or commission has the jurisdiction to entertain any
challenge over the loss of a licence.
Anyone broadcasting in contravention to the minister's directions can
be jailed for five years.
The dominant television broadcaster, Fiji TV, is owned by Yasana
Holdings, which represents the 14 ethnic Fijian provinces, and which
also owns the monopoly Papua New Guinea TV broadcaster EMTV.
Fiji TV established a reputation for impartial news coverage, although
the military installed two officers on its board following the coup
three years ago.
It, like the country's other media, is now subject to stringent
All the country's VHF TV frequencies are in the hands of Fiji TV.
It is now expected that at least one of these frequencies will be
reallocated to the government-owned Fiji Broadcasting Corporation,
which operates a radio service and has expressed an intention to
establish a TV network, towards which it has allocated several million
Riyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, younger brother of the Attorney-General and
formerly a TV journalist.
The government broadcasts directly from 7-9pm nightly, except on
Sundays, on a frequency it pays to rent from Fiji TV.
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