Telecommunications in Fiji

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Telecommunications in Fiji include radio, television, fixed and mobile telephones, and the Internet.

Radio and television[edit]

  • Radio stations:
    • state-owned commercial company, Fiji Broadcasting Corporation, operates 6 radio stations - 2 public broadcasters and 4 commercial broadcasters with multiple repeaters; 5 radio stations with repeaters operated by Communications Fiji, Ltd; transmissions of multiple international broadcasters are available (2009);[1]
    • 13 AM, 40 FM, and no shortwave stations (1998).
  • Radios: 500,000 (1997).[dated info]
  • Television stations:
    • Fiji TV, a publicly traded company, operates a free-to-air channel as well as Sky Fiji and Sky Pacific multi-channel pay-TV services (2009);[1]
    • 2 terrestrial stations (1998).[dated info]
  • Television sets: 21,000 (1997).[dated info]

Radio is a key source of information, particularly on the outer islands. There are publicly and privately owned stations. State-owned Fiji Broadcasting Corporation operates Fijian-language Radio Fiji One, Hindi-language Radio Fiji Two, music-based Bula FM, Hindi station Mirchi FM, and music-based 2day FM. The BBC World Service broadcasts on 88.2 FM in the capital, Suva.[2]

Media control[edit]

Under the military government's Media Decree, the directors and 90 percent of the shareholders of locally based media must be citizens of, and permanently resident in, the country. The Fiji Media Industry Development Authority is responsible for enforcing these provisions. The authority has the power to investigate journalists and media outlets for alleged violations of the decree, including powers of search and seizure of equipment.[3]

A code of ethics contained in the Media Decree requires that all stories run by the media be balanced, with comment obtained from both sides where there is any disagreement on the facts. This requirement enables government departments and private businesses to prevent stories from being published by not responding to media questions, thus making it impossible for the media to fulfill the decree’s requirement for comment from both sides. However, media sources report that if the story is positive toward the government, the balance requirement could be ignored without consequence.[3]

Telephones[edit]

Public payphone in Fiji, c. 2010
  • Calling code: +679[1]
  • International call prefix: 00 or 052[4]
  • Main lines:
    •   88,400 lines in use, 147th in the world (2012);[1]
    • 112,500 lines in use (2005).
  • Mobile cellular:
    • 858,800 lines, 159th in the world (2012);[1]
    • 315,000 lines (2007).
  • Telephone system: modern local, interisland, and international (wire/radio integrated) public and special-purpose telephone, telegraph, and teleprinter facilities; regional radio communications center; telephone or radio telephone links to almost all inhabited islands; most towns and large villages have automatic telephone exchanges and direct dialing; combined fixed and mobile-cellular teledensity roughly 100 per 100 persons (2011).[1]
  • Communications cables: Southern Cross Cable, links to the United States, Canada, New Zeeland, and Australia;[1] Vanuatu-Fiji Interchange Cable (2014); Tonga-Fiji cable (planned).
  • Satellite earth station: 2 Inmarsat (Pacific Ocean) (2011).[1]

Internet[edit]

The Internet is widely available and used in and around urban centers, but its availability and use are minimal or nonexistent outside these areas.

Internet censorship and surveillance[edit]

There are no government restrictions on general public access to the Internet, but evidence suggests that the government monitors private e-mails of citizens as well as Internet traffic in an attempt to control antigovernment reports by anonymous bloggers.[3]

The country has operated under a military-led government since 2006 and has had no constitution or functioning parliament since 2009. A series of decrees have been issued, including the Public Order Amendment Decree (POAD), the Media Decree, and the Crime Decree.[3]

By decree all telephone and Internet service users must register their personal details with telephone and Internet providers, including their name, birth date, home address, left thumbprint, and photographic identification. The decree imposes fines of up to F$100,000 ($56,721) on providers who continue to provide services to unregistered users and up to F$10,000 ($5,672) on users who do not update their registration information as required. Vodafone, one of two mobile telephone providers, also requires users to register their nationality, postal address, employment details, and both thumbprints.[3]

The POAD gives the government the power to detain persons on suspicion of "endangering public safety or the preservation of the peace"; defines terrorism as any act designed to advance a political, religious, or ideological cause that could "reasonably be regarded" as intended to compel a government to do or refrain from doing any act or to intimidate the public or a section thereof; and makes religious vilification and attempts to sabotage or undermine the economy offenses punishable by a maximum F$10,000 ($5,672) fine or five years’ imprisonment. The Media Decree prohibits "irresponsible reporting" and provides for government censorship of the media. The Crimes Decree includes criticism of the government in its definition of the crime of sedition, including statements made in other countries by any person, who can be prosecuted on return to Fiji. The government uses the threat of prosecution under these provisions to intimidate government critics and limit public criticism of the government. Journalists and media organizations practice varying degrees of self-censorship, with many reportedly fearing retribution if they criticize the government.[3]

In May 2007 it was reported that the military in Fiji had blocked access to blogs critical of the regime.[11]

In 2012 police investigated former University of the South Pacific (USP) professor Wadan Narsey, a prominent Fijian economist and long-time critic of the military government, for alleged sedition in writings published on his personal blog.[3]

The POAD permits military personnel to search persons and premises without a warrant from a court and to take photographs, fingerprints, and measurements of any person. Police and military officers may enter private premises to break up any meeting considered unlawful.[3]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "Communications: Fiji", World Factbook, U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, 28 January 2014. Retrieved 13 February 2014.
  2. ^ "Fiji profile", BBC News, 16 September 2011. Retrieved 14 February 2014.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h "Fiji", Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2012, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, U.S. Department of State, 27 March 2013. Retrieved 13 February 2014.
  4. ^ Dialing Procedures (International Prefix, National (Trunk) Prefix and National (Significant) Number) (in Accordance with ITY-T Recommendation E.164 (11/2010)), Annex to ITU Operational Bulletin No. 994-15.XII.2011, International Telecommunication Union (ITU, Geneva), 15 December 2011. Retrieved 2 January 2014.
  5. ^ a b Calculated using penetration rate and population data from "Countries and Areas Ranked by Population: 2012", Population data, International Programs, U.S. Census Bureau, retrieved 26 June 2013
  6. ^ "Percentage of Individuals using the Internet 2000–2012", International Telecommunications Union (Geneva), June 2013, retrieved 22 June 2013
  7. ^ "Fixed (wired)-broadband subscriptions per 100 inhabitants 2012", Dynamic Report, ITU ITC EYE, International Telecommunication Union. Retrieved on 29 June 2013.
  8. ^ "Active mobile-broadband subscriptions per 100 inhabitants 2012", Dynamic Report, ITU ITC EYE, International Telecommunication Union. Retrieved on 29 June 2013.
  9. ^ Select Formats, Country IP Blocks. Accessed on 2 April 2012. Note: Site is said to be updated daily.
  10. ^ Population, The World Factbook, United States Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed on 2 April 2012. Note: Data are mostly for 1 July 2012.
  11. ^ "Fiji muzzles critical blogs". The Sydney Morning Herald. 18 May 2007. Retrieved 18 May 2007. 

External links[edit]