Decree Restores Equivalent of Parlimentary Privilege

Subject: Media Release: Government Restores Level Playing Field and Protects Media Outlets

The President has approved the State Proceedings (Amendment) Decree 2012, which provides that no media organization can be held liable for publication of statements, whether verbal or written, made by the Prime Minister or any Minister of Government, whether in their official or personal capacity. The Decree is consistent with the Parliamentary privilege as was applicable in Fiji and which is applicable in countries throughout the Commonwealth; however, it goes further by protecting media organizations. 

The law is intended to facilitate open and frank discussion between Government, the public and other stakeholders in the lead up to Fiji's Parliamentary elections. The Decree will expire upon the date when a new Parliament is convened which will have its usual privileges for statements made by Parliamentarians.

Source: Ministry of  Information. (My emphasis).


Anonymous said…
That's great but I can't remember the last time our PM took a public question from anyone ? There is never a opportunity for the media to ask him questions for example after his budget speeches. A good step forward would be to here him take questions on the economy, finance and sugar in particular as they are his portfolios.
DECREEsing faith said…
This is great for parliamentary democracies where you have a government and an opposition. In a dictatorship where you only have the dictator and his lackeys it gives them more freedom but none to anybody else.

In effect the opposing parties still need to be mindful of the media decree and the public order amendment decree. But not for Frank and his cronies.

Another example of one rule for the dictator and another for everyone else.

Please Croz explain to me how this new decree “facilitates open and frank discussion between Government, the public and other stakeholders in the lead up to Fiji's Parliamentary elections.” I know they are not your words but you underlined it..
Plethora of decrees said…
Are you naive or stupid? Or are you really as deceitful as those behind this junta? Even a fool can see what this decree is aimed at achieving?
Anonymous said…
How about making this a mutual decree i.e ordinary citizens making comments against the regime will not be “screwed” in any way, shape or form??
Kahikiwa said…
I take it that your views are highlighted Croz?

A cynic would argue that 'open and frank discussion' are not what is intended, particularly if privilege is to be extended to comments made outside of normal parliamentary privilege, suggested by the words '..or personal capacity'.

I'm not sure that other Commonwealth countries extend parliamentary privilege as far as this decree suggests, though I'm sure someone will enlighten me.
ABV said…
Croz or readers,

I would like to get a perspective on this. Comments from FijiToday on this (below) are very concerning.

New Media Law. Unbalancing the playing field before the elections. Parlimentary Priviledge for both official and private utterances. No minister can be sued but they can sue the opposition. The media can be sued for any comments it prints critical of the Government. Frank could call Qarase a criminal and have it printed but if the media reported Qarase calling Frank a criminal it would be sued.
Fiji media observer says new decree

More info please said…
My understanding is previously the privilege would have been extended to the opposition as well. Given there is currently no opposition does this not give Frank and team an unfair advantage assuming they are going to run in the 2014 election ?
difference being said…
Except there is no parliment so the privilege only applies to the current military government ?
surke said…
By "level" I assume they mean "government". Anyone who is note "government" can be sued including any new party or old party that forms. Sorry does not sound very level to me. Also no decision the current government makes can ever be chalanged in court anyway so not sure they need protecting (they can decree anything they want anytime and no one can challange).
Croz Walsh said…
@ ABV ... Just a quick comment. FijiToday put its own interpretation on this, presumably based on the comments of Dr Mark Hayes who is described by RadioNZ International as a "veteran journalism educator" and an "independent Pacific scholar." I assume this is what Dr Hayes told them and they took him at his word. In fact, he has never been appointed to a teaching position at a Pacific university. He held a short term (one semester) appointment at USP in 2001 or 2002 but the appointment was not renewed. I presume by "independent" he means not currently employed. I am unaware of any substantive research he has undertaken and published. Radio NZI should check the credentials of those it allows to air their views. It has allowed itself to be conned!
Attacking the person said…
Attacking the person and not the argument does not help your credibility. It just shows you for what you are - a bitter old man with a chip on his shoulder.
Gutter Press said…
You have always averred that one should 'attack the argument, not the man'.
Therefore why did you elect to attack Mark Hayes and not deal with his comments?
Many others on this blog provide reasoned analysis and thought provoking commentary of events here, even though they might never have set foot in Fiji.
Conversely, some who have lived in Fiji all their lives spew forth irrational statements that shouldn’t see the light of day.
Your own thoughts are sought after - not because your 'links with Fiji and the Pacific go back to the late 1950s with masterate papers in Pacific History and Geography...' etc, but because you also provide reasoned analysis.
Please go back to the ideals you espouse for others and, if you chose to give your thoughts, do so on Dr Hayes remarks, not on his academic background.
flyhalf said…

The use of Mark Hayes by Radio NZ International, is no different from the same bias used extensively by BBC or Voice of America et al.

Those talking heads or experts on TV or radio are part of the mighty wurlitzer
which other western media outlets (like UK, Canada, Aust/ NZ, Netherlands) have taken their cue from.

Here's a stark example of it use in the US media recently.
DECREEsing Faith said…
This amendment is, as your posters have already pointed out, completely one sided and is an aid to the dictatorial regime and has no benefit to anyone else.

But it goes much further. I quote from Fiji Village.
“The new State Proceedings Amendment Decree that is now in force also states that no court, tribunal, commission or any other adjudicating body shall have the jurisdiction to accept, hear, determine or in any way entertain any challenge at law, in relation to the statements made by the Prime Minister or ministers.

No one can seek compensation or claim for damages or ask to be granted remedy in relation to any comments made by the Prime Minister or government ministers in their official or personal capacity.”

In effect Khaiyum could say Mick Beddoes is a paedophile and raped young boys in Vanua Levu. It would be completely untrue but Beddoes could not take any action in the courts and there is no compelling reason for the media to give Beddoes the right of reply.

Are you really telling us you believe the following: “The law is intended to facilitate open and frank discussion between Government, the public and other stakeholders in the lead up to Fiji's Parliamentary elections.”

Croz give us your views on this new decree instead of slagging off other commentators who don’t share your point of view.

You are fast becoming a hypocrite and you need to stick to your principles if you want to retain your credibility.
Anonymous said…
Actually Croz, you are the bigger idiot than most here - parliamentary privilege in a parliament is not at all about accurately reporting the utterances of the great leader ... it is the right to report MPs, and others, who, in a parliament and a court make statements that they could be taken to court if made outside of parliament. it is kind of Politics 1.01 and fundamental. it is little wonder that your published record runs to a modest and little sold work of geography.
Croz Walsh said…
@ Last Anonymous ... The article was written — and acknowledged to have been written — by the Ministry of Information. My contribution was limited to the heading and the emphasis. This should have been obvious so, to use your own words,it is "you [who] are the bigger idiot than most here."

Please read articles carefully and, if you wish to insult me, you need to dig deeper into my academic record.
Anonymous said…
Come on Crosbie...any little respect I had for you previuosly has now evaporated.

Any dumb arse knows what this all about.........and here you are siting on the bloody fence.

You are turning into a miserable human being....

...but I suppose you might still want to visit Fiji at some point and must keep that door wedged open.

How does it feel to be given a wedgie by Kaiyum...grin and bear, grin and bear.....lmao.
laughing cow said…
to the last anonymous,
How did you get the notion that Croz thinks that parliamentary privilege means the accurate reporting of the utterances of the great leader?? You made that up yourself and then attributed it to Croz. You then accuse him of not knowing the meaning of parliamentary privilege, before throwing insults at him and his publications.You make me laugh. Anonymous, who is the idiot?
Think man, think before type!

Croz merely published an article written by the Ministry of Information. I suspect you do not understand the article.

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