Fiji’s media fraternity breathed a sigh of relief Thursday following parliament’s decision to repeal the Media Industry Development Authority Act (MIDA) of 2010.
The Fijian Media Association (FMA) stated that the MIDA Act subjected editors and journalists to terror, violence, intimidation, censorship, and fear.
FMA General Secretary Stanley Simpson said the Act is a reality that has crippled the media industry for over a decade.
“After 16 long years, we finally feel free from prosecution. I feel we are free to do our jobs. I think it’s an important moment for the media industry, a new era, a new dawn for us.”
Simpson said ever since the Act was put in place, it has become a boundary that prevents journalists from doing their work properly.
He said the government has to be acknowledged for finding the strength to repeal the Act.
Simpson said that the government indicated that media outlets can scrutinise them.
FMA President Rosi Dovivereta maintains that the media will continue to play its role in fair and just ways.
“The decision-making comes down to newsroom leaders, and with the diversity that’s there and the responsibility, we’ve exercised that over the years, and it’s not something that we’re going to drop the ball on today because of the repeal of the Act.”
The FMA has urged the Opposition to engage with the media.
Simpson urges the Opposition to change their outlook on the media, saying that the media is not an enemy.
FMA has also pleaded with journalists to make use of their freedom by asking bold questions, reporting without fear, and uncovering important issues.
Meanwhile, Fiji has not been a democracy since the Media Industry Development Authority Act 2010 came into effect.
The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Tourism, Viliame Gavoka said this with a smile after the MIDA Act was repealed.
Gavoka, who is also the leader of SODELPA, sayid their party had included the repeal of the Act in their manifesto, and he is overjoyed that it is now a reality.
The Deputy Prime Minister said scrutinising government will be part of the freedom that now exists.
“When you free up the media, they will report fearlessly on anything, and it’s going to be the way things used to be. You’ll be seeing headlines against us in the papers now, which have never happened for almost 16 years. That is fine. That is part of the freedom that we all have.”
Gavoka said it’s a day of great joy for the media and the people of this country.
SOURCE: FBC NEWS/PACNEWS