Pacific Media Centre Pacific Media Watch Pacific Journalism Review Pacific Scoop

The Fiji media decree: A push towards collaborative journalism

Volume 16, Issue 2

October, 2010

From page
81
to page
98
Dutt, R. (2010). The Fiji media decree: A push towards collaborative journalism. Pacific Journalism Review, 16(2): 81-98.
UNESCO WPFD: Media Freedom in Oceania
Author(s): Reggie Dutt
Publication date: 
October, 2010

This article evaluates Fiji’s Media Industry Development Decree 2010 by drawing a link between it and the Singaporean media laws and the collaborative role the Fijian regime claims journalism should play in the nation’s development. A number of sections of the Fiji Media Decree are similar to the Singapore Media Development Authority Act 2003 and it contains similar harsh fines and jail terms. The Fiji Media Decree makes provisions for a Media Industry Development Authority and a Media Tribunal, both of which are appointed and controlled by the government. The Authority has wide-ranging powers to search, seize and censor, and refer to the Tribunal incidents which it considers are in breach of the decree. The government minister responsible for administering the decree has a direct say in the make-up of the Media Industry Development Authority and may give directions to the Authority in the performance of its duties and the exercise of its powers. This study explores the powers vested in the government via these two proposed bodies and what they will mean for journalism, freedom of speech and media freedom in Fiji. It also shows the merits of a ‘collaborative journalism’ model for a developing nation but explains how the design is flawed under the conditions it has been imposed in Fiji.