Sharon Bhagwan-Rolls gained national prominence in Fiji by organising, through the National Council of Women, a daily prayer vigil when government leaders were held hostage for 56 days during the 2000 coup. Sharon is the founding member of femLINKPACIFIC: Media Initiatives for Women, and has been a member of the YWCA of Fiji since 1986.
In this interview, Bhagwan-Rolls shares her ideas on how the international women’s movement can support the women of Fiji and reflects on the importance of faith in addressing the current crisis.
There are many mixed reports in the international press about the freedom of Fijian media. What is the real story?
All media, including community media that includes femLINKPACIFIC is subject to the Public Emergency Regulation (2009) currently in place. The Ministry of Information, Communications and Archives have advised us that femLINKPACIFIC is also, as we expected, subject to the directives of issued to the mainstream media organisations under the Public Emergency Regulations 2009, which include:
- that all media organisations should comply with the requirements under the regulations and refrains from broadcasting or publishing any news item that is negative in nature which undermines the Government
- that for practical reasons the Permanent Secretary (Information) will be assigned to media outlets to work closely with the respective editors/publishers to ensure that all items for broadcast and publishing comply with the regulations.