(Part 2)

Fiji Sun - - Nation -

ac­tual or sup­posed per­sonal char­ac­ter­is­tics or cir­cum­stances, in­clud­ing race, cul­ture, eth­nic or so­cial ori­gin, colour, place of ori­gin, sex, gen­der, sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion, gen­der iden­tity and ex­pres­sion, birth, pri­mary lan­guage, eco­nomic or so­cial or health sta­tus, dis­abil­ity, age, re­li­gion, con­science, mar­i­tal sta­tus or preg­nancy as well as opin­ions or be­liefs as long as it does not cause harm or re­sult in the diminu­tion of the rights of oth­ers. To ad­dress and ef­fec­tively im­ple­ment th­ese con­sti­tu­tional pro­vi­sions the Com­mis­sion will em­bark on a ro­bust education and ad­vo­cacy pro­gramme en­gag­ing the education sec­tor, dis­ci­plinary forces, med­i­cal au­thor­i­ties and religious or­gan­i­sa­tions.

The Com­mis­sion will also ap­point a dis­abil­ity desk of­fi­cer, a child desk of­fi­cer as well as con­sider the ap­point­ment a sex­ual di­ver­sity of­fi­cer to em­power the Com­mis­sion in its anti-dis­crim­i­na­tion role. Fur­ther­more, we will en­sure that the Com­mis­sion in its new lo­ca­tion is dis­abil­ity friendly and that the build­ing it­self is Paris Prin­ci­ple com­pli­ant. Works are al­ready un­der­way to equip the build­ing with dis­abil­ity pro­vi­sions.

4. What is your strate­gic plan for the Com­mis­sion? •Greater vis­i­bil­ity of the Com­mis­sion through ad­vo­cacy •Sound ad­min­is­tra­tive plat­form and aligned cor­po­rate plan •En­force­ment of hu­man rights norms and ef­fec­tive moni tor­ing •Paris Prin­ci­ples com­pli­ance and a fo­cused strat­egy for achiev­ing “A-sta­tus” ac­cred­i­ta­tion to en­able Fiji to join the UN Hu­man Rights Coun­cil

5. You will con­tinue to hold the role of Chair MIDA since there is no con­flict of in­ter­est. What will you do in case there are com­plaints to the Com­mis­sion on me­dia is­sues? Sec­tion 9 of the Me­dia In­dus­try De­vel­op­ment Au­thor­ity De­cree 2010 pro­vides that the Au­thor­ity has in­ter alia pow­ers to

(a) de­velop and mon­i­tor codes of prac­tice re­lat­ing to con­tent or tech­ni­cal stan­dards for me­dia ser­vices or to stan­dards of fair mar­ket con­duct in the me­dia in­dus­try, and mon­i­tor com­pli­ance with such codes; (b) mon­i­tor com­pli­ance with the eth­i­cal stan­dards of the print and broad­cast me­dia in ac­cor­dance with the Me­dia Codes of Ethics and Prac­tice; (c) mon­i­tor com­pli­ance by tele­vi­sion broad­cast­ers with the Tele­vi­sion Pro­gramme Clas­si­fi­ca­tion Code; (d) over­see the de­vel­op­ment, im­ple­men­ta­tion, main­te­nance and re­view of me­dia codes; and (e) Re­fer to the Tri­bunal com­plaints brought by the pub­lic against me­dia or­gan­i­sa­tions al­leg­ing a breach of the me­dia codes. The de­cree also es­tab­lishes the Me­dia Tri­bunal (“Tri­bunal”) whose chair­per­son must be qual­i­fied to be a judge. Un­der sec­tion 50(1) of the De­cree, the Me­dia Tri­bunal has the ju­ris­dic­tion to(a) hear and de­ter­mine com­plaints re­ferred by the Au­thor­ity; (b) hear and de­ter­mine com­plaints re­ferred by the Au­thor­ity on be­half of a com­plainant; (c) hear and de­ter­mine com­plaints re­freed by a com­plainant;

(d) ad­ju­di­cate on ac­tions for breach of the me­dia codes; and

(e) Ad­ju­di­cate on mat­ters re­lat­ing to me­dia dis­putes.

The de­cree clearly sep­a­rates the pow­ers and func­tions of the Me­dia In­dus­try De­vel­op­ment Au­thor­ity and the Me­dia Tri­bunal to avoid any con­flict of in­ter­est. It is there­fore pru­dent to note that I am not the chair­per­son of the Me­dia Tri­bunal and there­fore I will not be ad­ju­di­cat­ing on com­plaints brought be­fore the Tri­bunal.

Fur­ther­more, sec­tion 45(4) of the Fi­jian Con­sti­tu­tion out­lines the var­i­ous func­tions of the Com­mis­sion. It is im­per­a­tive to note that un­der the Con­sti­tu­tion the Com­mis­sion is in­de­pen­dent and is not sub­ject to the di­rec­tion and con­trol of any per­son or au­thor­ity, ex­cept by a court of law or as oth­er­wise pre­scribed by writ­ten law. In the event that the Fiji Hu­man Rights and Anti-Dis­crim­i­na­tion Com­mis­sion does re­ceive a com­plaint against the Me­dia In­dus­try De­vel­op­ment Au­thor­ity, I will re­cuse my­self from deal­ing with the com­plaint in my ca­pac­ity as the di­rec­tor of the Com­mis­sion as it is at this point that there is a clear con­flict of in­ter­est. Th­ese mea­sures are ex­tremely im­por­tant to avoid any per­ceived or ac­tual con­flict of in­ter­est- an is­sue that the Com­mis­sion takes very se­ri­ously.

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