(G) Media Decree: Australian Comments Exaggerated
The reported comments of Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Stephen Smith on Fiji’s Media Industry Development Decree is grossly exaggerated and taken out of context, says the Permanent Secretary for Information, Ms Sharon Smith-Johns.
The Decree was widely discussed and views of all concerned have been taken on board.
“ It’s most unfair that both News Limited and the Foreign Affairs Minister of Australia, have been selectively highlighting issues, and in the process sensationalizing them.”
The Media decree is huge step forward for the media industry of the country.
“ For the first time we have a legislation that is all encompassing (the media journalists and consumers), it’s actually empowering the people of Fiji in ensuring that their views are heard,” Ms Smith-Johns said.
The new Decree will have a positive impact on the economy, human rights, good governance and access to accurate information.
“In fact we have had encouraging response from the business communities and the Media outlets.”
Fiji has a vibrant and growing Media Industry, in print, broadcast and the new media with potential for investment.
“ Currently there are 14 plus media outlets, not including internet. Whilst the Fiji Times claims to be a vital source of independent news, so are the other media outlets,” Ms Smith-Johns said.
The New Media Decree is similar to Media Legislations in Australia, the United States and Singapore where there is control on Foreign Owners, Cross Media Ownership, social obligations in terms of content, media codes and complaints authority.
“ This brings to mind the Rupert Murdoch case, where he had to forego his Australian Citizenship in order to retain his interest in the United States.”
Mr Hartigan's comments that the media decree is designed to force them out of the country is absolutely incorrect, the decree only talks about foreign ownership, and if the Fiji Times wants to continue they must change their ownership, we do not want to see the Fiji Times close, that is simply not the issue.
Ms Smith-Johns said Government needs the media as much as the media looks up to Government for information on a whole range of issues that directly impacts on the people and country of Fiji. It is important that we move from here in good faith, mutual trust and with a common objective of providing information to the people so they can make informed decisions.
TUESDAY 29th JUNE, 2010 No:894/MOI) AUSTRALIAN FOREIGN MINISTER’S COMMENTS EXAGGERATED
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From a reader .. "Sitting here in Oz this morning, with the Fiji Times saga the top story on ABC TV, you get the feeling this is easily the biggest mistake Frank has made. The media is full of talk of the seizing of a foreign business asset, the impact that will have on foreign investment and the loss of jobs in Fiji. News Limited is openly castigating the Australian Government for not doing enough to confront the regime. Which means that on the eve of a federal election in which it will be desperate for the support of Murdoch newspapers, News is waving its own big stick at the government. So it seems inevitable that Australian pressure on Fiji will be revved up ..." Click on "Comments" at the bottom of the previous post to read in full, with other comments.