Little desire to restore media freedom
The adoption of a new constitution in 2013 and the ensuing parliamentary elections in September 2014—the first since the 2006 coup d’état—had a positive impact on access to information. This could be seen in the public debate and pluralistic coverage during the election itself despite some problems in the run-up. The media are nonetheless still restricted by the draconian 2010 Media Industry Development Decree and the Media Industry Development Authority (MIDA) that it created. Violating the decree is punishable by up to two years in prison and the MIDA’s independence is questionable. After giving the media additional leeway during the election, Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama resumed his policy of keeping the foreign media at a distance and publicly described them as “hostile.” Fijian journalists are meanwhile exposed to growing hostility from the ruling Fiji First party, while spurious sedition charges have been brought against the editor, publisher and manager of the Fiji Times, the country’s most popular newspaper. Coverage of the 2018 parliamentary elections will be a decisive test for Fijian press freedom.
80 in 2016
29.37 in 2016