Attorney-General Siromi Turaga today tabled the Media Industry Development (Repeal) Bill of 2023 in Parliament, seeking to repeal the Media Industry Development Act 2010.
Speaking on his motion, Turaga said there is a real need to urgently repeal the Act as it does not serve any practical purpose other than to limit media organisations and its operations.
Turaga said this does not mean the media can report on anything and everything without authentic sources and facts.
Background of the MIDA Repeal Bill 2023:
- Clause One of the Bill provides for the short title and commencement and if passed by Parliament, the new legislation will come into force on a date or dates appointed by the Minister by notice in the gazette.
- Clause two of the Bill sets out definitions of the term used throughout the Bill, while Clause three of the Bill repeals the Act.
- Clause four of the Bill provides for any action, arbitration, proceeding or cause of action pending against or in favour of the Authority to continue against or in favour of the Ministry Responsible for the administration of the new legislation.
- Clause five of the Bill provides for consequential amendments to the following laws to cater for the repeal of the Act – Electoral Act 2014, Television and Online Streaming Act 1992 and the Financial Management (Responsible Authority) Regulations 2019.
Opposition MP Mosese Bulitavu has proposed a wider consultation of the Bill be taken to the Fijian people and to be brought back to Parliament in a month.
“We as lawmakers need to go back and consult relevant stakeholders and the public.
Deputy Prime Minister Prof Biman Prasad said this is an urgent Bill needed to repeal the Draconian MIDA Act of 2010.
He said that no consultations were done by the previous Government when the decree was made and then eventually passed by Parliament.
Opposition MP Jone Usamate said he was flabbergasted by the Government’s move to use Standing Order 51 to debate its first Bill.
He said the FijiFirst Government before used Standing Order 51 to make consequential or minor amendment and did not use Standing Order to repeal a whole Act.
“This is the true colour of this Government,” Usamate said.
Speaker of Parliament Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu stated that under Standing Order 51, the motion be moved without notice and the motion must set out how and when Parliament will deal with each stage of the Bill’s passage through Parliament – and that the motion to proceed without delay.
The proposed Bill will be debated on Thursday.