CCF Says State Proceeding Decree Unwarranted, Drafted Without Due Process adn Discriminatory.
10th February, 2012
Unwarranted State and Media Protection Decree Discriminates
The Citizens’ Constitutional Forum (CCF) notes that to garner confidence in the current regime, it must desist from ruling by decrees especially if they are determined and drafted without any real due process involving the views of the people and more importantly if they discriminate against the citizens.
“It is of grave concern that the State Proceedings (Amendment) Decree 2012 grants unwarranted immunity to Cabinet Ministers and the media from any legal action in any adjudicating body for broadcasting or publishing any comments by them is unjust, as it unfairly favors, and provides the privilege of protection to select members of Fiji without any recourse for justice and accountability,” stresses CCF CEO Reverend Akuila Yabaki.
The new State Proceedings amendment decree states that the current group of unelected Ministers can openly say whatever they want against any individual or organization, whether it is defamatory or not, the public and those targeted through published comments are restricted from exercising their fundamental rights, to be treated equally before the law, fair and public hearing, right to remedy by a competent tribunal and the right to be considered innocent until proven guilty and interference by the State to practice these freedoms.
With this new decree, citizens would be vulnerable to personal attacks, and unwarranted allegations.
CCF strongly believes that the same rights and privileges should be granted to members of the public to allow free and open dialogue without any fear of being held liable. CCF further calls on the government to lift the Public Order (Amendment) Decree 2012 (“POAD”) to allow the said free and fair dialogue to take place.
At a time when nationwide consultations are expected on the constitutional and electoral reforms, the new decree casts a shadow of doubt on the Bainimarama government’s confidence to deal with opposing or deflecting views which are expected during the process.
The decree could be sighted as a means to protect one side while the other is left to the mercy of the media.
“The mainstream media must now ensure that the rights of citizens are not violated through broadcasting or publishing comments from Cabinet members that are protected by this decree and that ensure ethical journalism be practiced where both sides are permitted to air their views on issues or situations and not allow room to be manipulated through personally targeted statements or comments against individuals,” says Reverend Yabaki.
For further information please contact the communications team at CCF on email@example.com
Reverend Akuila Yabaki
CEO - CCF