Last Updated: Friday, 19 December 2014, 13:25 GMT

Reporters Without Borders Annual Report 2007 - Fiji

Publisher Reporters Without Borders
Publication Date 1 February 2007
Cite as Reporters Without Borders, Reporters Without Borders Annual Report 2007 - Fiji, 1 February 2007, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/46e692b423.html [accessed 20 December 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Area: 18,270 sq. km.
Population: 825,000.
Languages: Fijian, English, Hindi.
Head of state: Ratu Josefa Iloilo Uluivuda.

After threatening to apply a system of advance censorship, the military, which took control at the beginning of December did offer some guarantees to the press. But a crackdown on any criticism continued.

On 5 December 2006, public television interrupted its news programmes, just a few hours after Commodore Frank Bainimarama announced he had taken power in a military coup. The TV announced that the Fiji Television "news service would only resume broadcasting when it could be independent and free from censorship." Likewise, the leading daily Fiji Times suspended publication and two privately-owned radio stations Radio Fiji and Communications Fiji suspended broadcasts, after visits from soldiers wanting to impose advance censorship on them. Guards were posted in the media offices.

A few days later, the coup leaders guaranteed the independence of the country's main media. Bainimarama said: "We have withdrawn our soldiers from the media. We did not totally censor the press. But we wanted to prevent people from exploiting the situation to incite people to disturb the peace that is currently prevailing." The Fiji Daily Post, close to the ousted Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase, was however threatened and suffered reprisals. The paper's editor, Robert Wolfgramm, an Australian national, was arrested and had his passport confiscated and the family of a reporter on the paper, Jyoti Pratibha was threatened by soldiers who were apparently searching for the daily's general manager, Mesake Koroi.

The coup leaders also tried to gag other people, such as businessman and former journalist, Imraz Iqbal, who was questioned after having an article published in the magazine Fiji Living. Soldiers also threatened people who had written letters highly critical of the coup to the letters page.

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