Australia’s ABC Reports On Fiji’s Day

It’s not been a good day as you’ll see from the report below..


To give you a quick precis



Here’s the ABC report in full

Fiji devalues currency, closes internet cafes


Commodore Frank Bainimarama

‘The last thing we want to do is have opposition to these reforms’: Frank Bainimarama (AAP: Mick Tsikas, file photo)

The new governor of Fiji’s Reserve Bank has devalued the Fijian dollar by 20 per cent.

Sada Reddy’s move comes a day after the dismissal of former governor Savenaca Narube and the introduction of exchange controls to prevent the flight of capital.

Meanwhile reports are coming out of Fiji that the interim government is now restricting the use of the internet as it continues its crackdown on civil liberties.

The military regime led by Frank Bainimarama has also ordered the shutdown of ABC Radio transmitters in Fiji.

On Tuesday, New Zealand Foreign Minister Murray McCully said Fiji’s economy was in serious strife even before last week’s upheaval and that the military did not understand the role of the central bank.

Commodore Bainimarama has imposed tough restrictions on local and international media in Fiji, including stationing military censors in newsrooms and deporting ABC journalist Sean Dorney back to Australia.

Local journalists are being watched by police amid reports of internet cafes are being forced to shut.

Fiji TV reporter Edwin Nand was released this morning after 36 hours in police custody but the military has told him he cannot return to work.

Fiji TV’s lawyer, Tanya Waqanika, says the media is being forced to operate under tight controls.

"We’ve all been told that we cannot make comments on political [matter] or publish or broadcast political comments," she said.

Earlier today, Commodore Bainimarama, who took power in a 2006 coup, said freedom of speech caused trouble and was to blame for the country’s political turmoil.

"That was how we ended up with what we came up with in the last couple of days," he told Radio New Zealand.

"If we [the Government and the media] had worked together from 2006, we wouldn’t have had that happen to us.

"The circumstances have changed. We [the Government] now decide what needs to be done for our country, for the reforms that need to be put in place for us to have a better Fiji.

"We want to come up with these reforms and the last thing we want to do is have opposition to these reforms throughout.

"So that was the reason we’ve come up with emergency regulations."

Commodore Bainimarama says media restrictions will be lifted "hopefully in a month".

When asked if a Radio New Zealand journalist could travel to Fiji and report on whatever they pleased, Commodore Bainimarama answered: "There is no need; ask me the questions and I’ll tell you".