PFF, Rarotonga, COOK ISLANDS -- Regional media monitoring network the Pacific Freedom Forum has renewed its call on Fiji's regime leadership to repeal its Public Emergency Regulations and the 2010 Media Decree.
"Two years on from the public emergency these regulations were
supposedly aimed at addressing, the PER and Media Decree have turned out to be nothing more than a military gag on journalists and the right of Fiji's people to express their ideas and opinions freely,"
says PFF chair Titi Gabi of Papua New Guinea.
"Now another decree is on its way and we are concerned over the lack
of public debate and discussion especially by unions who will be most affected by the new Essential Industries decree, " says Gabi.
Fiji trade unionists Daniel Urai and Dinesh
Gounder were arrested and detained earlier this month for trying to
publicly discuss the new decree which has roused international concern on workers
They will appear in court on September 2 on charges of
gathering without a permit.
"Effectively, using the PER as a pretense, the regime continues to
make things we take for granted -- meeting and openly sharing ideas and information, a criminal offence. A permit
is not going to be granted to any space where potential disagreement with regime policy or action might happen. We denounce that as bullying, aimed at silencing those who should be leading the public discussion and debates by Fiji's people of what's going on in their
own country," says Gabi.
"We've long been concerned over the impact of the PER and Media Decree
on our colleagues which robs them of their ability to report freely on what is happening in Fiji," says PFF co-chair Monica Miller of American Samoa.
"Free speech is tightly linked to the freedoms of association and
assembly, and we stand in solidarity with workers groups in Fiji who are basically being cornered with no room to discuss how they will be affected by
the new decree."
"A leadership which stops it's own people from meeting and sharing
frank and honest opinions in public, is clearly uncomfortable with a nation where free and fair comment is enjoyed by all."--ENDS.
Concern over Fiji Trade Union arrests: http://australianetworknews.com/stories/201108/3288155.htm?desktop
Australian Trade Unions write to Prime Minister Gillard on Fiji :http://www.actu.org.au/Campaigns/International/InternationalSolidarity/LettertoPMondeterioratingsituationinFiji.aspx
release on workers rights in Fiji:
Titi Gabi | Freelance Journalist | Papua New Guinea
Mail: PO Box 7776, Boroko, NCD, Papua New Guinea | Mob: (675) 7314 3929 | Email: email@example.com
Monica Miller | KHJ Radio | American Samoa
Mob 684 258-4197 | Office 684 633-7793 | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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.