A great day for media industry, says Lyons

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Fiji Times Pte Ltd general manager Christine Lyons (second from left) with representatives of the Fiji media. Representatives of media organisations met in Suva on Wednesday, April 5, 2023 to begin work on the revival of the Fiji Media Council. The objectives of the council is to: promote high journalistic standards; safeguard media independence; uphold freedom of speech and expression; uphold the public’s right to accurate information; promote an independent complaints committee; and to promote a code of ethics and practice for journalists and media organisations. Picture: JONACANI LALAKOBAU

A great day for the media industry as years of enduring harsh media laws is finally over. Fiji Times Pte Ltd general manager Christine Lyons summed up the mood at the company after the Media Industry Development Act (MIDA) was repealed by majority vote in Parliament yesterday.

“It is a great day for all media companies and journalists in Fiji as MIDA was hanging over the heads of journalists, editors and managers,” she said.

“We are delighted and thank the Coalition Government for living up to their word and protecting the rights and freedom of journalists and the media industry.”

Ms Lyons also paid tribute to everyone in the industry for their endurance and resilience over the past 12 years, but stressed it was important to remain committed to upholding the values of good journalism.

“The repealing of this Act empowers the media to continue playing its role in society as the fourth estate.”

The Fiji Times editor-in-chief Fred Wesley said he was relieved and emotional, considering the number of challenges the newspaper had gone through for 16 years.

“Today is a great day to be a journalist in Fiji,” he said.

“We have shrugged off the monkey on our back! A lot going through my mind, but very thankful.”

Wesley thanked all those who had stuck with the profession despite the huge challenges.

“Those in the newsrooms, our sources who were willing to test authority and stand up to it, our family members and loved ones who stood by our side, and all our readers and followers for their support.

“Many of them gave us the motivation and the courage to do our jobs. I reflect on the years gone by and look forward with great optimism.

“This is good for the media and is especially good for our nation.”

According to Wesley, as a pillar of democracy, the media also had an important role to play in not only disseminating information to the masses, but also holding those in power to account.

“For those who are probably not aware of the important turn of events, you could say it is about enforced suppression and selective dissemination of information against freedom of expression! “This is one for the ages!”

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