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Media authority doesn’t recognise online petitions

The Fiji Media Industry Development Authority (MIDA) said they will not act on complaints posted on social media. An online petition is currently being circulated with 821 people already having signed.  The petition is against a local newspaper and their reporting of a recent murder case involving a minor. MIDA Chairman Ashwin Raj told Newswire that those […]

Peni Shute

March 24, 2016 12:24 pm

The Fiji Media Industry Development Authority (MIDA) said they will not act on complaints posted on social media.

An online petition is currently being circulated with 821 people already having signed.  The petition is against a local newspaper and their reporting of a recent murder case involving a minor.

MIDA Chairman Ashwin Raj told Newswire that those wanting to make complaints to the authority need to address it to him as the chairman.

I have not received any petition.  Keep in mind that all things that are posted on social media in relation to a complaint we will not act on. Because, as an independent authority, we need to act on official complaints that come to the authority.

Mr. Raj said complainants needed to write to the authority and address the chairman directly.

The procedures for lodging an official complaint is outlined very clearly in the Media Decree, I think members of the public need use that to lodge an official complaint, it’s not right for us to go out into the social media to look at petitions and act on it.

Mr Raj added MIDA would not legitimize concerns posted on social media.

Anybody can say anything in the social media and write any kind of petition, we cannot be legitimizing that kind of conduct for us as an independent authority. There is a proper procedure in place and it needs to be observed at all times.

When asked if MIDA had received any complaints apart from the petition in relation to this specific case, Raj said he could not reveal any details.

I am not at liberty to disclose details of any complaints to members of the public, at this point I am aware of the issue and you know we will convene and adjudicate as we receive complaints.

I am not going to release any details, because it affects the independence of the authority but also it begins to implicate and adversely affect the newspapers and the relevant media outlet the confidentiality of the complainant and so forth.

Mr. Raj said if an official complaint is received then MIDA would write to the relevant media organisation for their official response, after which MIDA would decide on an ‘effective remedy and whether it goes to the media tribunal’.

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