SUVA, 04 MAY 2017 (FIJI TIMES) — Veteran Fiji journalists Netani Rika believes critical journalism doesn’t necessarily infer criticism.

He made the comments while speaking during a panel discussion on World Press Freedom Day with the theme “Critical Minds During a Critical Time”, held at the University of the South Pacific last night.

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He said critical journalism spoke the need and the importance of the discerning mind on the coverage of national affairs.

“For the sake of accountability and transparency, it is imperative that journalists have the ability to think beyond the measures that are churned out by those in positions of Government,” he said.

“That means they must have support systems in place at work and in national legislation to ask the hard questions for those who are elected into Government.

“We can draw hope from a student who dared to ask in a public forum how much Government ministers are paid.”

He said because we lived in a critical time, he claimed attempts were being made to have control to access in our villages.

Meanwhile, the Fijian Media Association (FMA) is expected to meet today and part of the agenda is to discuss the Parliamentary Power and Privileges Bill.

FMA chairman Nemani Delaibatiki made the comments when posed a question by former journalist Sarika Chand on what were the thoughts of the FMA on Clause 24 of the Bill.

Clause 24 of the Bill which states that anyone found to have defamed, demean or undermine the sanctity of Parliament, the Speaker or a committee commits an offence is liable for conviction.

The Clause further states that a person may be fined not exceeding $30,000 (US$15,000) or face imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years or both.

And in the case of corporate bodies, the company may be fined not exceeding $100,000 (US$50,000) or an imprisonment for each director and manager for a term not exceeding five years or both…….PACNEWS [/restrict]