Observer group makes recommendations and observations on media
Fiji Village. Tuesday, 14/04/2015
The Multinational Observer Group, co‑led by Australia, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and India, has recommended in its final report on the 2014 General Elections that political party identification should be included on the National Candidates List.
The report also stated that consideration should be given to reducing requirements for party registration and activities.
It further said that public office holders, including trade union officers, should be allowed to be political party members.
They also recommended that the Public Order (Amendment) Decree should be revised to allow groups, including political parties, to gather without requiring a permit.
It also said that the national candidate numbers should be drawn earlier, to allow parties sufficient time to publicise these ahead of prepolling.
The Multinational Observer Group said that the effectiveness of the media to provide informed choice on Election Day varied greatly between the urban and rural areas.
It said voters in the urban areas had access to a reasonably diverse range of media.
As of September 2014, a total of 34 media outlets were officially registered under MIDA, including newspapers, magazines, radio stations, TV stations and social media.
It said that radio is the most important source of information for many Fijians and played a crucial role in distributing information about both the political and administrative aspects of the election.
The report said the coverage of the electoral campaign in the final weeks before the election included instances of both neutrality and partiality among the local media.
It said while efforts were made by some domestic media like Communications Fiji Limited and Fiji TV to allocate an equitable amount of airtime to the different candidates and political leaders through special election programs, some media organisations appeared to exhibit political biases.
The report further said that political parties were able to mobilise and candidates were able to campaign prior to the election.
It also mentioned the special talkback on CFL stations which featured FijiFirst Leader Voreqe Bainimarama and SODELPA Leader Ro Teimumu Kepa in a live debate three days before the election, which was broadcast widely on radio.
The group included observers from:
- Canada (2)
- European Union (3)
- India (3)
- Indonesia (15)
- Israel (2)
- Japan (7)
- Melanesian Spearhead Group (5)
- New Zealand (11)
- Republic of Korea (2)
- Russia (3)
- South Africa (1)
- Turkey (1)
- UK (5)
- USA (10)