Fijian media gets creative in face of censorship

Two Fiji media organisations have used creative methods to protest against censorship.

The military Government has tightened its grip on power since the Court of Appeal last week declared the 2006 coup by Commodore Frank Bainimarama unlawful.

The judges were sacked, the constitution dissolved, foreign journalists expelled, the Reserve Bank occupied and the bank governor, Savenaca Narube, sacked.

Members of the military have also been put in newsrooms to monitor the media.

The Fiji Times has run blank pages with the sentence: "the stories on this page could not be published due to Government restrictions" while the Fiji Daily Post ran a story about a man getting on a bus and another watching paint drying on Wednesday.

The Daily Post story quotes a source named Max: "It just went on wet, but after about four hours, it started to dry".

In another story, a headline reads: "Man gets on bus".

The story goes on to quote an anonymous source: "It was easy." And: "I just lifted one leg up and then the other and I was on".

Fiji's information ministry spokesman Major Neumi Leweni was questioned about censorship on Wednesday by Radio New Zealand.

"That's the law. That's it," Mr Leweni said.

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