Fiji | Freedom House

Freedom of the Press

Fiji

Fiji

Freedom of the Press 2005

2005 Scores

Press Status

Free

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

30

Political Environment
(0 = best, 40 = worst)

13

Economic Environment
(0 = best, 30 = worst)

10

The press is generally free, despite sporadic threats by the current government to legislate a controversial draft bill that would establish a statutory media council with stiff powers. Existing legislation empowers the minister of information to order newspapers to publish "correcting statements" and allows authorities to arrest individuals who have published false or "malicious" material; however, these provisions have not been used against the press. A Freedom of Information law is in place, but individuals have reported some difficulty in gaining access to official information. The media have vigorously reported a series of treason and mutiny trials stemming from the attempted coup in 2000 and its aftermath. Nevertheless, uncertainties over the country's political future provide a politically charged environment in which journalists occasionally face intimidation and threats. Foreign journalists whose names appear on official "blacklists" are sometimes denied entrance into the country.

The government runs the state broadcaster, Fiji Broadcasting Corporation Ltd., which operates three main radio stations. In late 2004, the government was preparing to divest its controlling 44.5 percent interest in one of the three national daily newspapers, the Daily Post, to Australian interests. Two private national newspapers and a privately owned FM broadcaster compete with the state media, and all outlets provide diverse and often critical coverage of current events. The Fijian investment group Yasana Holdings Ltd., owned by the country's 14 provinces, maintains a controlling 51 percent stake in the sole television broadcaster, Fiji Television, while the government owns 14 percent. Low pay and lack of training continue to be issues of concern for journalists.