Reporters Sans Frontieres also known as Reporters Without Borders on Thursday, released its 2019 index, showing an increase in self-censorship of journalists in parts of the Pacific last year.
However Fiji has improved it’s media freedom index by 5 points, from 57 in 2018 to 52nd in 2019, 4 behind United States of America.
Reporters Without Border’s say that the relatively pluralist and balanced coverage of the 2018 parliamentary elections – the second since the 2006 coup d’état – confirmed the Fiji media’s liveliness and spirit of resistance.
“But journalists are still restricted by the draconian 2010 Media Industry Development Decree, which was turned into a law in 2018, and the regulator it created, the Media Industry Development Authority, whose independence is questionable.”
“Journalists who violate this law’s vaguely worded provisions face up to two years in prison.”
In this hostile legal environment, the acquittal of the country’s leading daily, the Fiji Times, and three of its journalists on sedition charges in May 2018 was seen as an encouraging victory for press freedom.