EDITORIAL: Free speech in Fiji
Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart informa tion and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.
- Article 19, Universal Declaration of Human Rights
When military strongman Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama staged his creeping coup d’état on 5 December 2006—Fiji’s fourth in two decades—he was quick to declare: ‘We will uphold media freedom’ (cited in Foster, 2007). Barely two and a half years later, when he finished off the job with a putsch—dubbed ‘coup 4.5’ by some—and after having expelled three publishers, two New Zealand diplomats and five journalists over the intervening period, he told Radio New Zealand freedom of speech ‘causes trouble’ and must be curbed to allow the military government do its work (Bainimarama: Free speech ‘causes trouble’, 15 April 2009).
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