As the United Nations observes World Press Freedom Day on 1-3 May, 2011 CCF is just as concerned about the determination of some governments to censor and silence individuals, and to restrict the free flow of information.
Journalists still face dangers in the field. This year alone so far, 25 journalists have been reported killed reporting from various danger zones around the world. In the current Arab Awakening in the Middle East two Photojournalists were killed with mortar attack in Libya, one blogger died while in prison in Bahrain, one reporter died when security forces opened fire on a crowd in Yemen and a reporter shot by assailants on motor cycle in Pakistan.
In letters written to the Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama since June 2010 Citizens’ Constitutional Forum has called on Government to withdraw the Public Emergency Regulations (PER) but this has now been extended 25 times on monthly since April 2009.
“The CCF takes the opportunity to reiterate its call for the need to lift the PER and censorship of the Media in Fiji as World Press Freedom day is set aside to raise awareness of the importance of freedom of the press and remind governments around the globe of their duty to respect and uphold the right to freedom of expression enshrined under Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights” says Reverend Yabaki.
“Article 19 states “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless frontiers”.
“While the PER gives the Permanent Secretary of Information to generally control broadcasts or publications that may give rise to disorder and which may result in a breach of the peace, it is also the duty and responsibility of media organizations to work collectively to ensure that the Freedom of the Media is fully restored as soon as possible by convincing the State that reporting and commentaries will be confined within the requirements of the Media Decree.”
“This year’s theme for World Press Freedom Day is “21st Century Media: New Frontiers, New Barriers; and it is the ideal time for all stakeholders, including the government to take active steps in overcoming these barriers and ensuring Media Freedom is restored in Fiji.”