Re: Questioning of Local Media Executives by the Anti-Corruption Unit

Postdate: 16/ 03/ 2007

The Citizens’ Constitutional Forum (CCF) is deeply concerned about the increasing intimidation of the media by the military. Over the past few weeks, a photographer was allegedly assaulted and Fiji Times, Fiji TV and Fiji Daily Post officials taken to the military camp for questioning.

This Wednesday, military officers allegedly called in Communications Fiji Ltd (CFL) Managing Director, William Parkinson and news editor, Vijay Narain. They were further questioned by the anti-corruption unit over critical comments on key figures in the interim government, posted on CFL’s website Fiji Village.

“The questioning of CFL Managing Director, William Parkinson and news editor, Vijay Narain, by the anti-corruption unit is very worrying,” CCF Programmes Director Mr Jone Dakuvula said.

“The anti-corruption unit has no business pressurising CFL officials over comments posted on the public forum of the Fiji Village website, which were simply critical of key government figures,” Mr Dakuvula said. “It is apparent the officials were acting on a directive of the military.”

“It is very unfortunate that the questioning of CFL staff has led to the removal of the public forum link, on the Fiji Village website.

“The media needs to be free and independent in order to perform its task of disseminating information, so that the public can be informed and assisted to keep the government transparent and accountable.

“A healthy media indicates a free and healthy society. Freedom of Expression is guaranteed under the Bill of Rights of the 1997 Constitution and this can only be implemented through a free press. We call on the military to respect the rights of citizens of this country to express their views and to refrain from interfering in the work of the media,” Mr Dakuvula said.

For further information, please contact Mr Jone Dakuvula on ph: 3308379, fax: 3308380 or email:ccf@connect.com.fj

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