Parkinson: Repeal Media Act 2010

Communications Fiji Limited chairman, William Parkinson during the Media Industry Development Act public consultation at the Suvavou House in Suva on Thursday, March 23, 2023. Picture: JONACANI LALAKOBAU

Communications Fiji Ltd (CFL) chairman William Parkinson has called for a repeal of the Media Industry Development Act 2010 and more discussion on the proposed Media Ownership and Registration Bill 2023.

He said this during a public consultation on the review of MIDA Act 2010 at Suvavou House yesterday where a draft replacement law was handed to participants.

“I am concerned because after we pass this Bill, we will be stuck with it for a very lengthy period while we have this wider consultation with the community, and the media is then just spinning its wheels, unable to move forward on critical issues it needs to address,” Mr Parkinson said.

“The question is, do we start with the complete repeal of the Bill and then have the consultations over any issue that you may have, or do we start with this (the draft)?

“For me, I think we start with a clean slate and then we can have a wider conversation about whether there is the need for regulation in any sensitivity areas, and of course part of the conversation are these issues are already covered under (other) forms of legislations or control.

“For example, cross media ownership or the unscrupulous player taking control of large sections of the media, that could apply to an unscrupulous player taking large control of the supermarket or any other form of business in Fiji, and its already covered by way of FCCC (Fiji Competition and Consumer Commission).

“These are all covered already, and I don’t see a need for any further particular legislations for the media.

“So our call from the media, we have no problem with a wider media consultation or media regulation, if that is necessary, lets start with a clean slate, that is our position.”

University of the South Pacific head of Journalism Dr Shailendra Singh urged the drafters of the legislation to be aware of Fiji’s media system, especially after the COVID-19 pandemic when it was vulnerable politically and financially.

He urged the drafters not to over-complicate laws for the media.

More Stories