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Fiji says it will repeal controversial media law

(Photo: via Twitter – @slrabuka)

The Fijian government has announced it will repeal the Media Industry Development Act 2010.

Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka said on 29 March the cabinet had approved the tabling of a bill to repeal the controversial Act “as a whole”, RNZ News reports.

“The decision is pursuant to the People’s Coalition Government’s commitment to the growth and development of a strong and independent news media in the country,” Mr Rabuka said in his post-cabinet meeting update.

“It has been said that ‘media freedom and freedom of expression is the oxygen of democracy’,” he said.

“These fundamental freedoms are integral to enable the people to hold their government accountable.”

“I am proud to stand here today to make this announcement, which was key to our electoral platform, and a demand that I heard echoed in all parts of the country that I visited,” he added.

Media groups in Fiji, who consider the 2010 act draconian, had been calling for it to be repealed and not replaced by new legislation. The Fijian Media Association said it “welcomes and celebrates cabinet’s decision”.