Fiji | Freedom House

Freedom of the Press

Fiji

Fiji

Freedom of the Press 2004

2004 Scores

Press Status

Free

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

29

Political Environment
(0 = best, 40 = worst)

13

Economic Environment
(0 = best, 30 = worst)

10

Although the constitution provides for freedom of press and speech, the government attempts to exercise considerable authority in restricting these rights. After the 2000 failed coup attempt by businessman George Speight, Fiji's media remain vibrant despite the ongoing political instability. Many members of the local media report that harassment of or attacks on journalists have declined under Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase's administration, although officials do commonly make verbal attacks on the media for exposing political and social problems. The independent Media Council rejected a proposed media bill that would establish further laws and government regulations on the press. It argued that the bill threatens the integrity of press freedom expressed in the constitution and duplicates the regulations currently administered by the council. Although some media are privately owned, the government maintains a television monopoly and holds a stake in several newspapers. Radio is a key source of information; the government operates four stations through the state-owned Fiji Broadcasting Corporation. Several independent radio stations also exist. In a victory for independent media, the Major Tenders Board awarded a public contract of $630,000 to a private radio station in December, upsetting some top government officials. Media objectivity is cited by some as a concern, especially in crisis situations such as the last coup attempt.