Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Pacific Freedom Forum applauds Justice Lloyd decision in Fiji

  The Pacific Freedom Forum, an online network of Pacific journalists committed to advocacy of a free media and access to information, applauds the recent decision by Justice Ian Lloyd to open up Fiji Court of Appeal proceedings between its former and current governments.

The appeal, led by former PM Laisenia Qarase and other members of Fiji's last elected government comes after a Fiji High Court ruling last month validating their 2006 ousting. Qarase, his government, and the entire Parliament had been dissolved by President Ratu Josefa Iloilo in the aftermath of the military takeover and ensuing state of emergency, two years ago.

"We commend and praise His Honour's wisdom and foresight in ruling that if matters are held in chambers, this would subject the judiciary to public suspicion," says PFF chair, Susuve Laumaea.

"By opening up all appeal proceedings to the media, Justice Lloyd is ensuring that there will be unfettered and unrestricted coverage of a case that is of interest to the citizens of Fiji," he says.

Setting March 2009 as the date for proceedings Justice Lloyd has ruled out the question of having the hearing in chambers, away from public scrutiny. He noted that the original case had been opened up to the media in the spirit of ensuring public understanding of the issues involved.

The PFF co-chair Monica Miller says Justice Lloyd has recognized the need for the trial to be held in open court thereby maintaining the trust of the Fijian people in the independence and integrity of the judiciary.  

"Coming at a time when the interim military regime has engaged in intimidating and harassing media organizations, journalists, editors and publishers, His Honour's decision gives us hope that the current climate is only temporary, and we sincerely hope that other decision makers of Fiji will emulate the example of Justice Lloyd in allowing open access to the media".

 PFF interim Chair

Susuve Laumaea | Sunday Chronicle Newspaper | Papua New Guinea

Mobile: 675-684 5168 | Office: 675-321-7040 | Email: susuve.laumaea@interoil.com

 

PFF interim co-Chair

Monica Miller | KHJ Radio | American Samoa

Mob    684 258-4197 | Office 684 633-7793 | Email: monica@khjradio.com

 

The Pacific Freedom Forum are a regional and global online network of Pacific media colleagues, with the specific intent of raising awareness and advocacy of the right of Pacific people to enjoy freedom of expression and be served by a free and independent media.

We believe in the critical and basic link between these freedoms, and the vision of democratic and participatory governance pledged by our leaders in their endorsement of the Pacific Plan and other commitments to good governance.

In support of the above, our key focus is monitoring threats to media freedom and bringing issues of concern to the attention of the wider regional and international community.

-- “More and more, if you're not in the digital conversation about your community, you're not in a conversation that matters” --   Alberto Ibargüen, President, The Knight Foundation.
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