Index 2024
44/ 180
Score : 71.23
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Index 2023
89/ 180
Score : 59.27
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After 16 years of recurring attacks on press freedom by former Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama, pressure exerted on the media by civil and military authorities has eased since the election of Sitiveni Rabuka as head of the Republic of Fiji in 2022. The repeal of the draconian and unpopular Media Industry Development Act (MIDA) in April 2023 is an important step forward.

Media landscape

Two daily newspapers dominate the print media landscape: the pro-government Fiji Sun and the Fiji Times, the historic newspaper of the archipelago, founded in 1869 and still renowned for its independence. Two TV broadcasters, the state-owned Fiji Broadcasting Corporation (FBC) and the privately owned Fiji Television, compete for traditional viewers. Mai TV, founded in 2008, has a more intense online presence. Radio is the key medium for a population scattered over a hundred islands, with FBC’s leading position challenged by members of the FijiVillage media group such as Radio SargamNavtarang and Viti FM.

Political context

From 2006 to 2022, press freedom was directly affected by recurring attacks by Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama. Faced with the Covid-19 pandemic, one of his relatives affirmed the need to “stifle criticism of [the government] by curtailing freedom of speech and freedom of the press”. But pressure exerted on the media by the civilian and military authorities has let up since Sitiveni Rabuka’s election as prime minister in December 2022. Biman Prasad, who is deputy prime minister in Rabuka’s coalition government, has shown strong support for press freedom.

Legal framework

Until its repeal on 6 April 2023, the news media were regulated by the draconian 2010 Media Industry Development Decree, which was turned into a law in 2018, and they were supervised by the Media Industry Development Authority (MIDA), which was created by the decree and was directly linked to the government. Journalists could be jailed for up to two years for violating the law’s vaguely worded provisions. The sedition laws, which were repeatedly used against the Fiji Times, also fuelled a climate of fear and self-censorship, with the threat of sentences of up to seven years in prison. 

Economic context

The authorities have used discriminatory advertising practices to blackmail the media, withholding ads and legal notices from those regarded as critical of the government. For example, at the height of the pandemic, the pro-government Fiji Sun benefited from a preferential advertising allocation at the expense of its rival, the Fiji Times. The latter was also banned from distribution in several parts of the archipelago in the spring of 2020 on the grounds that the press is a non-essential service”.

Sociocultural context

Fiji’s 936,000 inhabitants form a multicultural society with three official languages – Fijian, English and Fiji Hindi. The descendants of indigenous populations make up just over half of the current population, while the descendants of labourers that the British colonial rulers brought from the Indian subcontinent constitute a little less than 40%. The result is a fairly fragmented media landscape, particularly linguistically, with communities demanding exclusive media.


Journalists’ interests are represented by the Fiji Media Association (FMA), which was often critical of the harassment of the media by the previous FijiFirst government. After the repeal of the Media Act, the FMA worked hard to restore independent journalism and public trust in the media.