Fiji: minister attacks bloggers

Troops take control of armoury during coup
Troops take control of armoury during coup

Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, the interim attorney-general appointed after last year's coup, has criticised bloggers.

Submitted by jef costello on May 22, 2007

A local businessman, Ulaiasi Taoi, has been detained twice over the past month in relation to a blog and Mr Sayed-Khaiyum has warned of the dangers of bloggers using their anonymity to attack the government. A wave of blogs sprang up after the coup, with many bloggers publishing uncensored accounts of the coup and of the actions of its instigators once in power.

The army now claims it is no longer trying to locate bloggers although in a statement by an army colonel, Pita Driti, the army said that any bloggers whose identities became known would be taken to camps for questioning.

One of the charges that has been levelled at the independent bloggers movement is that their blogs are racist and incite violence. One of the blogs threatened Intelligentsya has pointed out that a pro-junta blog has been allowed to make threats and use racist language and has detailed some of the repession suffered by bloggers.

The Fijian government, installed after last year's coup, is facing the loss of a large EU aid budget. After having agreed during negotiations last month that the state of emergency would not be renewed the government appears to be considering extending it.

This may have an effect on Fiji's peacekeeping troops, the UN had earlier suggested that as a result of the coup Fijian soldiers might no longer be eligible for peacekeeping duties. This would be a blow to the island both economically and could lead to a deteriorating security situation.