Overlapping of PER and Media Decree.

Postdate: 15/ 06/ 2011

The Citizens Constitutional Forum has welcomed revelations that News Directors and Chief Editors of various News agencies are making a collective effort to engage government in dialogue on removing section 16 of the Public Emergency Regulations.

The revelation was made during a workshop for Senior Journalists in Suva last week. Section 16 of the PER provides for the Permanent Secretary for Information to vet all newspaper, radio and television material before the point of publication or broadcast.

CCF CEO Reverend Akuila Yabaki says while we fully understand that the PER deals with wider issues relating to the states concerns regarding national security, lifting section 16 of the PER would serve as a first step in revoking the PER, something the CCF continues to lobby for.”

“Section 16 of the PER unnecessarily duplicates the provisions of Section 80 of the Media Decree which effectively binds media outlets from refraining from broadcasting or publishing any information which may give rise to public disorder.” “ As such, removing section 16 of the PER would be a prudent move and compel media outlets to practise self censorship and adhere to the requirements under the code of conduct” .

“It would also be a sign to the citizens of Fiji and the international community that concrete steps are being taken by the government towards completely repealing the Public Emergency Regulations” says Reverend Yabaki.

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