Freedom of the Press

Fiji

Fiji

Freedom of the Press 2003

2003 Scores

Press Status

Free

Press Freedom Score
(0 = best, 100 = worst)

29

Political Environment
(0 = best, 40 = worst)

11

Economic Environment
(0 = best, 30 = worst)

12

Status change explanation: Fiji's rating improved from Partly Free to Free to reflect greater political stability and the increased ability of the media to operate freely.

Press freedom is generally respected, although legal constraints on the media remain on the books. Newspapers are required to register with the government in order to publish. Though it has never been used, the Press Correction Act authorizes officials to arrest anyone who publishes "malicious" material, or to demand a "correcting statement" for an allegedly false or distorted article. Provisions in the 1998 Emergency Powers Act allow parliament to restrict civil liberties, including press freedom, during a state of emergency. Private media outlets report on alleged official wrongdoing, but some self-censorship persists. The government owns shares in the Fiji Post newspaper and has business links to its main competitor, the Fiji Sun, which raises questions about the concentration of media ownership and independence. Authorities have at times pressured editors and otherwise interfered with the press. During the year, officials subjected the press to verbal attacks, and police raided a journalist's home in April after he refused to hand over confidential documents.