The repeal of Fiji’s draconian media law, known as the Media Industry Development Authority (MIDA) Act 2010, should act as a signpost for other Pacific countries who have regulated their media through legislation.
And, the regional media body based in Fiji, the Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) is calling on other Pacific Governments to take their cue from Fiji’s leadership.
Fiji’s parliament voted in favour of the repeal of the MIDA legislation. 29 voted to totally remove the law, with 21 against and three opted to abstain.
“PINA salutes the patience and endurance of journalists and media workers in Fiji – working under a media law that intimidated and restricted their freedom to report freely for more than a decade,” said PINA President Kora Nou.
This is a win for democracy and media freedom in Fiji and the Pacific,
“In late January this year, the PINA Executive Board was in Suva and met with the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Communications in Fiji, Honorable Manoa Kamikamica, who assured the PINA leadership that the government was in the process of reviewing the controversial media legislation in Fiji,” said Nou.
For the government to live up to its promise and ‘totally repeal’ the media legislation speaks volume of the new era of media freedom in Fiji – that PINA hopes will be replicated throughout the Pacific.
PINA acknowledged the healthy debate in Parliament today and the vote, which was relayed live on television and social media, witnessed by the people of Fiji.
“PINA congratulates the Coalition Government in Fiji for its commitment to media freedom and removing the media legislation was a great start – allowing journalists to report without fear and favour and holding those in authority to account.
PINA also welcomed the prompt move by the Fijian Media Association and media owners in Fiji to meet and discuss the immediate setting up of the Fiji Media Council to regulate the work of the media in the Pacific nation. “The onus is now on the media industry and related stakeholders to put in place proper independent mechanisms for the media to self-regulate and discharge their duties responsibly,” Nou said.