Official Media Blackout In Fiji

Port Vila, Vanuatu (PressExposure) April 17, 2009 -- Frank Bainimarama’s December 2006 military coup and regime were ruled as being illegal, by a senior court in Fiji last week. This ruling was totally ignored by the ailing 89 year old President Ratu Josefa Iloilo. He publicly declared "a new legal order”, dissolving Fiji's third constitution, firing all the members of the judiciary who had declared the military government illegal, declaring a 30 day state of emergency and clearly stated there would be no prospect of elections until 2014. According to Iloilo “Fiji has not had a government in place since Thursday’s court ruling.”

Iloilo absolutely denies he is acting for Bainimarama.

Frank Bainimarama, who is a self-appointed prime minister, made the appearance of relinquishing his political control, on 10th April. He told Auckland’s Indian Radio Tarana, he was returning to the military barracks. "I am going back to the military to look after the RFMF [Republic of Fiji Military Forces]. It will be business as usual." However, Fiji’s military regime has this week increased its crackdown way beyond the media, when it deported three foreign television journalists, including ABC reporter Sean Dorney. The regime was determined in its attempt to shut down all international coverage, as Commodore Bainimarama makes a further grab for power. A local news reporter was also taken into custody, because he was reportedly transmitting news material overseas.

With the firing of the Reserve Bank governor, Savenaca Narbue, plus the arrest of the Law Society president Dorsami Naidu, the legal and financial sectors have now been disrupted. The military regime also tightened its control on foreign exchange and limited the flow of capital. News broadcasts were cancelled and pages of newspapers left blank, stating “The stories on this page could not be published because of government restrictions”. Roadblocks have been set up in the streets of the capital. The positions which have been forcibly vacated will be replaced by figures seen as friendly to the military regime.

The Australian and New Zealand governments have criticized Bainimarama for suspending freedom of speech and accused him of undermining the well-being of the residents of Fiji.

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Press Release Submitted On: April 16, 2009 at 10:33 pm
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