From the Editor-in-Chief’s desk: Your March 30 briefing

Listen to this article:



Yesterday was a special day for the media in Fiji. The Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka made an announcement that impacted all journalists and media companies.

You could feel the emotions in some of the leaders of Fiji’s newsrooms yesterday! Finally! After 12 years, it is happening!

When Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka announced that Cabinet had approved a Bill to repeal the draconian media legislation, it was met with joy in newsrooms.

Today we reflect on the Media Industry Development Act 2010, and use Part 4 – Content regulation as an example.

Sections 22, 23 and 24 dominated the way we were forced to do our work over 12 years.

Section 22 states that the content of any media service must not include material which – (a) is against the public interest or order; (b) is against national interest; or (c) creates communal discord.

Section 23 states that the content of any print media which is in excess of 50 words must include a byline and wherever practical, the content of any other media service must include a byline.

But it is Section 24 that is frightening.

It is about offences relating to content regulation.

It states: A breach of any of the provisions in or under sections 22 and 23 by a media organisation shall constitute an offence and the media organisation shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding $100,000 or in the case of a publisher or editor to a fine not exceeding $25,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 2 years or to both.

For crying out loud, editors faced the harsh reality of possible jail time if someone missed a byline on a story over 50 words!

For 12 years we have been highlighting this major issue in our laws.

The fact that there was no clarity, explanation, or an accompanying sub-section about what constitutes a possible breach of Section 22 was a major concern.

Given the fact that content on media platforms are obviously of national, public and international interest, who would determine what was a breach?

It is encouraging that Government is going to repeal the Act.

The fines are discouraging, and obviously designed to punish and control the media.

They have suppressed media freedom and the development of journalists.

They were a barrier to freedom of expression and suppressed the people’s right to information.

The fact that there were no cases taken before MIDA or the courts shifts attention to this role of suppression.

These stifling penalties were hanging over the heads of media leaders over 12 years.

Media freedom and freedom of expression, like the PM said, is the oxygen of democracy.

It empowers media organisations to hold governments to account, and assists the development of journalists.

In saying that, we reflect on our journey as an organisation, and acknowledge every member of staff, our readers, and supporters for standing by The Fiji Times. Today we heave a sigh of relief and look forward with great anticipation to the repeal of this piece of legislation that certainly has no place in a real democracy.

The lead on the front page of The Fiji Times for Thursday, March 30 is on that repeal.

But we have a second story about the Fiji Police Force investigating a case where 120 villagers from Ra were duped into going to work in Canada.

Log onto for the latest updates and videos from around the country.


There’s something about feeling the newspaper in your hands, fresh and almost crispy! Maybe that’s not the right word! But have you thought about getting a copy daily at home, when you get up in the morning?

Call our Circulation Department for subscription rates. Call us on phone: 3304111 and talk to Setaita, Jervis, Gaytree, Ropate, or to the Head of Circulation Shamal.

They may just have a rate that suits your budget! They could organise the delivery of your newspaper fresh off the press every day, right to your doorstep.

Prefer to read the newspaper online? Then subscribe to the e-edition! There are simple instructions to follow to get to the daily edition!

Log onto

#ftheadlines #FTimesheadlines