Fiji 🇫🇯 is an Oceanian country which mostly practices Christianity, with Hinduism being practiced by the Indo-Fijian population. It gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1970 and became a republic in 1987, after a coup d'état led by Colonel Sitiveni Rabuka. Censorship was pervasive during the military governments of Sitiveni Rabuka, Tevita Momoedonu and Frank Bainimarama.

The press in Fiji was greatly relieved from censorship after the Media Industry Development Act (MIDA) was repealed in April 2023.

General censorship[]

The country has operated under a military-led government since 2006 and has had no constitution or functioning parliament since 2009. A series of decrees have been issued, including the Public Order Amendment Decree (POAD), the Media Decree, and the Crime Decree.

The POAD gives the government the power to detain persons on suspicion of "endangering public safety or the preservation of the peace"; defines terrorism as any act designed to advance a political, religious, or ideological cause that could "reasonably be regarded" as intended to compel a government to do or refrain from doing any act or to intimidate the public or a section thereof; and makes religious vilification and attempts to sabotage or undermine the economy offenses punishable by a maximum F$10,000 ($5,672) fine or five years’ imprisonment. The Media Decree prohibits "irresponsible reporting" and provides for government censorship of the media. The Crimes Decree includes criticism of the government in its definition of the crime of sedition, including statements made in other countries by any person, who can be prosecuted on return to Fiji. The government uses the threat of prosecution under these provisions to intimidate government critics and limit public criticism of the government. Journalists and media organizations practice varying degrees of self-censorship, with many reportedly fearing retribution if they criticize the government.

The POAD permits military personnel to search persons and premises without a warrant from a court and to take photographs, fingerprints, and measurements of any person. Police and military officers may enter private premises to break up any meeting considered unlawful.

Book censorship[]

Film censorship[]

In Fiji, films are classified by the Fijian Censors Board:

  • G - approved for general exhibition
  • Y - approved for exhibition to viewers of the age of 13 and over
  • A - approved for exhibition to adults only (18 and over)
  • R - approved for restricted public exhibition subject to conditions imposed by the censor
  • Adhura Sapna - this Hindi-language film was banned in Fiji in 2009 due to its racial themes towards Fijians.

Internet censorship[]

The government in a parliament sitting on March 15, 2018 passed a bill known as the Online Safety Bill to the Standing Committee on Justice, Law and Human Rights that was tabled in the Parliament of Fiji to enforce tougher restrictions on those that may share explicit photos of individuals on social media or spread anti- government remarks as well.

Currently, there are no government restrictions on general public access to the Internet, but evidence suggests that the government monitors private e-mails of citizens as well as Internet traffic in an attempt to control antigovernment reports by anonymous bloggers.

By decree all telephone and Internet service users must register their personal details with telephone and Internet providers, including their name, birth date, home address, left thumbprint, and photographic identification. The decree imposes fines of up to F$100,000 ($56,721) on providers who continue to provide services to unregistered users and up to F$10,000 ($5,672) on users who do not update their registration information as required. Vodafone, one of two mobile telephone providers, also requires users to register their nationality, postal address, employment details, and both thumbprints.

In May 2007 it was reported that the military in Fiji had blocked access to blogs critical of the regime.

In 2012 police investigated former University of the South Pacific (USP) professor Wadan Narsey, a prominent Fijian economist and long-time critic of the military government, for alleged sedition in writings published on his personal blog.

Television censorship[]

While television initially was temporarily introduced in 1991 (for the broadcast of the Rugby World Cup and the 1992 Cricket World Cup), it would be only in 1994 when Fiji had its first television networks, Fiji TV and Fiji Television Limited.

Video game censorship[]

External links[]

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