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UN Human Rights Commissioner calls for common sense

February 12, 2018 11:44 pm

The UN Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein has called for common sense to prevail after the detention of three journalists last weekend over an article that was later proven false.

“It is highly worrying and reportedly has the effect of inhibiting investigative journalism and coverage of issues that are deemed sensitive as well as discouraging a plurality of views.”

Al Hussein noted that legislation can be used to curb the freedom of expression and that this is commonplace with heightened tensions in the lead up to elections.

“Overly broad can be and have being used to prosecute journalists whose work has being deemed to be against the public interest or public order with violations punishable by fines with violations up to one thousand Fijian dollars, five hundred and thirty US dollars or imprisonment of up to 2 years under the Media Industry Development Act of 2015.”

The UN Commissioner spent three days in Fiji on an official visit meeting with Government and Opposition and various stakeholders from civil society organisations to women’s groups.

A detailed country report on his visit is expected to be released in the coming months.