Privileges Bill suppresses freedom of speech
Media Release. May 1, 2017
The people of Fiji must know that Clause 24 of the Parliamentary Privileges Bill, if it became law, would allow the Government to jail and fine people if they “defame, demean or undermine the sanctity of Parliament.”
It goes without saying that we oppose it. An NFP Government will ensure clause 24 of the Parliamentary Privileges Bill will never see the light of day.
Parliamentarians are the people’s servants. The people elect them and the people pay them. The people are also allowed to criticise them, even if we as Parliamentarians think the criticism is unfair. Freedom of expression is also the freedom to differ with the government.
There is no democratic country in the world where such a law exists.
The Fiji First Government has become arrogant and out of touch. Its Ministers are surrounded by bodyguards and drive around in motorcades (and NFP will ban those too). Now Fiji First is so scared of criticism that it would put people in jail and fine them up to $100,000 if they spoke up against Parliamentarians.
Politicians who cannot accept criticism should leave Parliament – or the voters should throw them out!
Authorised by : –
Professor Biman Prasad