Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The media decree and MaiLife

from w
MaiLife is a great magazine with informative stories, is on the move with today's Pacific world, is inclusive of stories about a variety of Fiji people. We do want it to survive the decree's subsection about cross media ownership.

From Fijivillage today:
Owners of Mai Life Magazine contemplate future
Publish date/time: 29/06/2010 [17:24]

The owners of Mai Life Magazine are now contemplating the future of their investment as the restrictions on cross media ownership in the new Media Industry Development Decree will have serious implications on the monthly magazine. Under the Media Decree, Cross Media Ownership is where a person of a certain medium is limited in the amount of shares they can hold in other mediums or of the same medium.

This applies to the ownership of Mai Life Magazine which is owned and operated by Richard Boardbridge and his wife Judith Ragg as Broadbridge is also the founder and the director of MaiTv.

Section 39 sub section 4 of the decree states that no person may act as a director in more than one media organisation and they have been given 12 months to comply with the cross ownership requirements in the Media Decree.

Speaking to Fijivillage news, Richard Broadbridge said they have to study the decree before deciding their next step. However he said it would be a shame if MaiLife magazine is forced to close down.

Section 43 of the Media Decree on Cross Media ownership states that any media organisation or person that breaches the provisions will be fined not exceeding $10,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 2 years.

The Decree also stated that any media organisation in breach of this provision may have their registration cancelled and the media organisation cease to operate.

Meanwhile, when asked as to why twelve months has been given to ensure that cross media ownership issues were dealt with and only three months given for media organisations to ensure that were 90 percent locally owned, Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said it is sufficient time for those who are affected to comply.

The only exemption in this section of the Media Decree extends to the State and any State owned entity or any media organisation in which the State owns majority shares.

Story by: Roneel Lal
And of course, the Fiji Times owners/staff will have to seriously comtemplate their future as well. I do not like monopolies and want diversity of views in the media, but this is an organization of long standing in Fiji and a reputable newspaper. Certainly it runs rings about Fiji Sun with its little stories of watermelons and so on. Of course there is a trade-off when overseas companies do business in Fiji, but the journalists are local and about two hundred people do have jobs! The Australian media (radio, TV, and print) have had a field day criticizing what has happened, or might happen in three months. A more balanced view is that local ownership shared with overseas investors is desirable but how to get the right balance is debatable.


Andrew Thornley said...

The concern I have about this new Decree is that, while I sympathise about the desire for local ownership, will there be wealthy local people or industries prepared to buy up the Fiji Times shares when they know that their freedom to express editorial views will be so circumscribed? As part of the Media Decree, a tribunal has been established to ensure nothing is printed or broadcast against the "national interest or public order". What in effect does this mean? I feel that the Chairman of the new Media Authority, Satendra Nandan - a good man and a poet and Academic at heart - will quickly recognize that his own decision-making may be seriously compromised

Peceli and Wendy's Blog said...

Hello Andrew,
People make choices and that's their right, but Satendra Nandan must have an ethical problem here, writing poetry and stories from the heart is different from taking on a task to monitor the writing of journalists. There is the contradiction of freedom of speech and conformity and obedience involved. Surely the poet needs to also respect dissent.

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