PFF, Rarotonga, COOK ISLANDS-- The Fiji regime's last-minute ban on a 'Reclaim the Night' march honoring International Women's Day has been condemned by regional media monitoring network the Pacific Freedom Forum, PFF.
The Fiji Women's Crisis Centre (FWCC) holds an annual "Reclaim the Night" march in Fiji's urban city, Suva, to mark International Women's Day on March 8, and had received a permit for the gathering on February 19. However on the eve of the march, the organisers had their permit revoked because it was felt the event would have security issues.
"PFF condemns the latest measure against free speech and freedom of peaceful assembly in Fiji. The human right to free speech goes hand in hand with association and peaceful assembly and in a country where a host of decrees are gagging freedom of expression and association, the decision to ban the well-established 'Reclaim the night' event says much of the regime stance on the issue," says PFF co chair Titi Gabi of Papua New Guinea.
"The 8th of March is a day for voice, conversation and debate on the critical issues that affect half the world's population. The Reclaim the Night march is one of the outstanding initiatives allowing men
and families to mobilise and own the public debates against sexual and all forms of violence in our communities."
Says PFF co-chair Monica Miller of American Samoa: "Insecurity, fear and misinformation are compounded and become a major threat to peace when citizens have their ability to be 'citizens' taken away. We urge the regime to allow all Fiji's people to be able to freely voice their concerns on the things that matter, and remove the range of decrees now limiting their freedoms in that regard".--ENDS
Police order march ban: http://www.stuff.co.nz/world/south-pacific/8396261/Fiji-police-order-march-ban
Titi Gabi | Freelance Journalist | Papua New Guinea
Mail: PO Box 7776, Boroko, NCD, Papua New Guinea | Mob: (675) 7314 3929 | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Monica Miller | KHJ Radio | American Samoa
Mob 684 258-4197 | Office 684 633-7793 | Email: email@example.com
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.