Pacific Media Watch

12 January 2016

FIJI: Raj warns media not to 'promote discord'

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"Be sensitive" over issues, MIDA's Raj tells media. Image: Fiji Television

SUVA (Radio NZ international/Pacific Media Watch): Fiji's Media Industry Development Authority says media organisations should not publish or broadcast material in a form likely to promote discord, but are free to report matters of national interest.

The authority's chairperson, Ashwin Raj, made the comment after a report in the Fiji Sun last week which quoted the prime minister as saying if a woman wants to marry another woman, they should do so in Iceland and stay there.

Raj said media organisations had to be sensitive to and particularly careful about the possible effects of discriminatory references to vulnerable minorities in prejudicial or pejorative contexts.

He went on to say that Fiji needed to have a deep and meaningful discussion on the issue that goes beyond what he calls the "cul de sac of marriage".

Fiji's gay community has called on the prime minister Voreqe Bainimarama to apologise for what it says are derogatory and homophobic statements.

A human rights advocate, Shamima Ali, has described the prime minister's comments as disheartening.

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