Today Fiji’s Director of Public Prosecutions, Christopher Pryde, has decided to prosecute Josaia Waqabaca, Anare Ravula, Fred Wesley, Hank Arts, and the Fiji Times Ltd on charges of inciting communal antagonism under section 65 (2) (a)(i) and section 53 (1) of the Crimes Decree in relation to an article published by the Fiji Times in its supplemental iTaukei language newspaper Nai Lalakai on 27 April 2016.
Before you howl with the predictable outrage that other NZ media will do it might pay to give you some context.
In Fiji s65 of the Crimes Decree makes it an offence to make public statements that are likely “to incite dislike or hatred or communal antagonism of any community in Fiji“. It doesn’t matter whether what is said is correct or accurate, only that it is “likely to incite” which is quite a low threshold.
Section 65 is seen as a justified limitation on the constitutional right to freely express an opinion. The limitation is justified more so in the Fijian context when minority groups have been targeted in the past with devastating consequences, including murder and rape as seen when George Speight conducted his racist coup in 2000. Read more »