Voting to repeal MIDA encouraging: Fiji PM Rabuka


Fiji’s Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka says today’s repeal of the 2010 Media Industry Development Authority Act (MIDA) is encouraging in the restoration of democracy.

He said the country goes right back to the freedom they have always enjoyed, and they self-regulate.

Speaking to FBC News after Parliament, Rabuka expressed his joy as all his members of Cabinet were one in voting for the repeal of the Act.

“The Opposition was solid in their support against, those that were there. Some did not bother to come but I was very encouraged today that the whole 29 votes on the government side voted in favour of the Bill.”

The Prime Minister said both media and the public benefits from this move.

He said MIDA restricted the power of the people and the media.

Rabuka said the media is the conscience of the nation, and over the years they were not able to work in a free environment.

Attorney General Siromi Turaga said today is the day for restoration, as the Coalition government’s intention is to repeal those laws that were not consulted with the people of Fiji.

Turaga said the victory belongs to the people of Fiji, not FijiFirst or the Coalition government.

Following an intense debate of more than an hour, the dark era of media censorship in the country has ended.

“Much has been said and I am really embarrassed, I am not going to use a term used by my predecessor, I want people to understand what I am saying I am shocked. Au madua.”

Deputy Prime Minister Biman Prasad, while contributing to the debate, says the media legislation terrorised by the media when they were in opposition for the past eight years.

Prasad said the media had been muzzled by the previous government and created fear in the media fraternity.

He said in some media organisations there was editorial interference in what was being published.

“The MIDA Act was like the noose around the neck of the media industry, journalists, reporters and editors. That will be gone after we repeal the act today. Sometimes I think the opposition can’t event understand their own interest today. They are so used to being in government and muzzling the media can’t see that the repealing of the act will be beneficial for them, good for democracy and good for our people in this country.”

Deputy Prime Minister Manoa Kamikamica said no one, including the Coalition government, should ever be given such power over the media and have the right to dictate what’s published.

Kamikamica said the MIDA Act threatened the survival and livelihood of many media businesses, and some media still carry the mental scars from the disturbing period.

“Neither the previous government nor a single member of the public has ever used the MIDA Tribunal to complain about the media. There has been no media development under MIDA. It was useless but dangerous.”

Kamikamica said the draconian legislation now belongs to the dustbin of history.

The now repealed act was thrusted onto the media without consultations and has been a case of concern for the media houses.