Fiji Unions Decry Government Propaganda

Fijian military commander Frank Bainimarama has limited media freedom under the Public Emergency Regulations.

Fiji's peak trade union bodies have asked the country's media not to report what they see as one-sided pro-government news.

The Fiji Trade Union Congress and the Fiji Islands Council of Trade Unions have jointly condemned what they say is the shutting out of their views in the state censored media.

FTUC General Secretary, Felix Anthony, told Radio Australia the unions are frustrated by what they see as propaganda rather than journalism.

"People in Fiji are simply getting one side of the story. The reporting is not balanced and quite apart from news."

Mr Anthony called on media outlets to either publish balanced items, or nothing at all.

But Fiji Broadcasting's News Editor, Stanley Simpson, believes the union's accusations do not factor in the constraints on media organisations under Fiji's Public Emergency Regulations.

"The PER is what really stops us from reporting some of the issues. Censors come into the newsroom and check the stories."

He says while media organisations may strive for balance, government censors have the final word on what can be broadcast or put in print.

"It happens that we get a call that (a story) must be removed. Sometimes they give a reason, sometimes not. It's just that they have given orders."

Fiji's Public Emergency Regulations limit a range of civil liberties. They have been repeatedly extended since their initial three-month implementation in 2009.