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Media agencies to follow basic journalistic principles: MIDA

May 1, 2019 12:36 pm
MIDA Chair Ashwin Raj

It is important for mainstream media and the public to understand that the circulation of false news is a serious offense under the law.

This after issues were raised in relation to the Water Authority of Fiji and the circulation of fake news and counterclaims between the Authority and trade union leaders.

MIDA Chair Ashwin Raj says section 15(a) of the Public Order Act states that anyone who fabricates or knowingly spreads any false news or false report tending to create or foster public alarm shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 3 years or to a fine not exceeding $5,000 or to both such imprisonment and fine.

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Raj says it is disturbing that The Fiji Times, a mainstream media organization, proceeded to publish stories on a matter of national interest, stories that have the potential to cause national panic and can have the effect of disrupting the economy without determining the accuracy of claims in relation to the alleged termination of WAF employees.

MIDA is calling on all media agencies to follow basic journalistic principles of balance and accuracy before using any information from social media and to work within the ambit of the law.

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