Pacific Media Centre Pacific Media Watch Pacific Journalism Review Pacific Scoop

The evolution of media laws in Fiji and impacts on journalism and society

Volume 21, Issue 1

May, 2015

From page
126
to page
141
Singh, S. (2015). The evolution of media laws in Fiji and impacts on journalism and society. Pacific Journalism Review, 21(1): 126-141.
FIJI
Author(s): Shailendra Singh
Publication date: 
May, 2015

This article examines the cultural, political, ethnic and economic forces that have shaped the evolution of media legislation in Fiji and the evident impacts on journalism and society. The article argues that despite Fiji’s British colonial heritage and its smooth transition to democracy after Independence in 1970, the spectre of stricter legislation has been a constant threat. This threat finally materialised in the post-2006 coup period, when media-related laws underwent a major overhaul, including the promulgation of the punitive Media Industry Development Decree 2010, which was later ‘preserved’ under the 2013 Constitution despite being labelled ‘undemocratic’. The 2006 coup leader Voreqe Bainimarama, who was decisively voted back into power as Prime Minister in the 2014 General Election, justified the media reforms in the name of social stability and progress. This research uses document review to examine the genesis, nature and efficacy of Fiji’s media-related laws, from the colonial to postcolonial periods, and beyond.