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FMA welcomes Court ruling in the Fiji Times case

May 24, 2018 5:07 am

The Fijian Media Association has welcomed the High Court ruling in Suva Tuesday that found three senior officials of Fiji Times Limited and a letter writer not guilty of sedition charges.

General Secretary, Stanely Simpson, says the ruling is an assurance for all media workers that media freedom and freedom of expression is alive and well-protected by the country’s judicial system.

Simpson says the Fiji Times journalists are founding members of the FMA and the Association has stood with them from the beginning and during the trying days of the case.

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He says however, the FMA is also strongly urging its members to be more mindful of the responsibilities that come with media freedom, to work within the laws of the country and their media code of ethics, and to strengthen internal vetting and editing processes.

Simpson says particularly with reports or statements that could potentially lead to racial animosity or racial hatred.

The FMA is also urging government to use existing processes they have set up through MIDA to address complaints they have with the media.

Simpson says there have been previous cases in which this was done, including a similar report by Fiji TV prior to the 2014 elections.

In that incident, Government complained about the report to MIDA.

That complaint was adjudicated by MIDA, with both sides providing evidence over three rounds, and MIDA finally ruling that Fiji TV had to apologise for reporting the racially inciting comment, not just once, but several times.

Simpson says the FMA stands ready to meet with Government to discuss any concerns they may have, and to see a better way forward in addressing and resolving complaints.

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