Repealing of MIDA | A-G: Does not mean media has the unfettered right to report on anything

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Attorney-General Siromi Turaga while speaking in Parliament on Thursday, April 6, 2023. Picture: PARLIAMENT OF FIJI

Attorney-General Siromi Turaga used The Fiji Times as an example of how aggrieved persons can use other legislation to seek redress after the Media Industry Development Act 2010 was repealed.

He did this while moving a motion on the Media Industry Development (Repeal) Bill 2023 in Parliament on Thursday, where he also said repealing MIDA “does not mean that the media has the unfettered right to report on anything and everything without verifying the veracity of their information”.

“Moving forward, the media industry will regulate itself with the setting up of a Fiji Media Council,” the A-G said.

“The repealing of the Act does not mean that the ordinary person will not be able to raise their grievances on unscrupulous or uninformed reporting or publication by media organisation.

“Redress is available through the existing legislation such as the Defamation Act 1971, Online Safety Act 2018 and the Crimes Act 2009 amongst others.

“In fact, my predecessor, Mr Sayed-Khaiyum during his term as attorney-general had instituted committal proceedings against Fiji Times Ltd regarding the publication of an article.

“The matter was appealed to the Supreme Court, however, it does not negate the fact that even with the Act in place, there are other avenues within which grievances regarding media organisations were addressed.”

MIDA was repealed after 29 voted in favour of the Media Industry Development (Repeal) Bill 2023, 21 voted against and three did not vote.

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