Democracy and rights
The military coup in 2006 put democratic
principles and the right to human rights out of play.
Political interference in legal processes occurred, as
did restrictions in association law and freedom of
expression. Since a new constitution was adopted in 2013
and democratic elections were held the following year,
legal security and respect for human rights have been
However, a number of democratic shortcomings still
remain. For example, freedom of assembly and assembly is
still limited and prosecution for upstart is becoming
more common according to Amnesty International. Freedom
house describes Fiji as a partly free country.
Offers a comprehensive list of airports in Fiji, including international airports with city located, size and abbreviation, as well as the biggest airlines.
Political parties can in principle be formed freely
and two multi-parties have been held since democracy was
reestablished in 2014. But of 17 parties that existed
before the 2006 coup, only two were approved for the
2014 elections. The reason was that new rules from 2013
required that a party must have at least 50,000 paying
members and undertake to follow certain general rules of
conduct in order to take part in elections. The other 15
parties were declared dissolved and their financial
assets seized by the state.
In addition to the responsibility for the country's
defense and security, the military, according to the
constitution, must also guarantee its "well-being". It
has been interpreted as an opportunity for the army to
intervene in political decisions that the generals do
Fiji is not included in Transparency International's
index of corruption in the countries of the world.
However, corruption exists, and the new constitution
established a commission to work against corruption.
Freedom of expression and media
Fiji has traditionally had a lively press that has
been considerably freer than elsewhere in Oceania. From
the 1987 coups until democracy was restored in 2014,
however, media freedom was periodically repressed. Since
then, the situation has improved, even if deficiencies
The media climate worsened considerably after 2006,
when then-army chief Frank Bainimarama (prime minister
since 2007) took power in a coup. In April 2009, the
situation worsened when freedom of the press was
abolished at the same time as the constitution.
Censorship was introduced and the media was ordered to
cooperate and publish only "positive" news. Soldiers and
other security personnel were stationed outside news
editions, several foreign journalists were expelled and
Fijian journalists were arrested and interrogated.
In April 2010, the government further tightened
control over the media through a decree that gave the
authorities the right to decide what was in the public
interest or not. A special authority was given the right
to penetrate editorials and request material for review.
Media companies were threatened with heavy fines and
journalists in prison for violating the censorship laws.
All printed text must bear the author's name, which,
among other things, made it impossible to send anonymous
submissions from the public.
Finally, a ban on more than 10 percent of foreign
ownership in media companies was introduced. The
restriction was specifically aimed at the Fiji Times
magazine, which at that time was owned by the
Australian-American media mogul Rupert Murdoch and had
become the regime's hate object. In September 2010, the
government banned all authorities from advertising in
the Fiji Times. Faced with the threat that the magazine
would otherwise be closed, the Murdoch Group sold the
same month Fiji Times to a Suva-based media group.
Only with the 2013 constitution did freedom of press
and opinion strengthen, and direct interventions against
the mass media gradually diminished. The 2018
parliamentary elections were illuminated in the media in
an impartial manner and from several different angles.
Over the past decade, Fiji has climbed 100 positions in
Reporters Without Borders Press Freedom Index, from 152
in 2009 to 52 in 2019 and 2020 (see the full list here).
Yet deficiencies remain. The 2010 decree was
transformed by Parliament into a permanent law in 2018.
Thus, editors and other media workers are still at risk
of being fined or imprisoned for publishing material
that the authorities do not accept. Foreign ownership is
still limited by law and at least in some media there is
at least some self-censorship.
Judicial system and legal security
According to the Constitution, the judiciary must be
independent of Parliament and the government. The judges
in the higher courts are appointed by the President on
the recommendation of the Prime Minister, the Chancellor
of Justice and a Law Commission. At the lower level,
judges and other legal personnel are appointed by the
Despite the return to democracy in 2014, many
deficiencies remain in the justice system, and legal
security is low. According to a 2016 report by Amnesty
International, a "culture of torture" has taken root
within the country's security forces. The soldiers who
carry out torture, abuse, rape and sexual violence
against, for example, suspected criminals and prisoners
are often free from punishment. In the report, Amnesty
gives five examples of people who have died from
injuries they received through abuse or torture after
The Constitution guarantees impunity to all the
military who participated in the coup in 2006 and this
immunity cannot be called into question by a court or
revoked by a constitutional change. Nor can any
financial compensation be paid to persons who have
suffered damage as a result of the coup.
Fiji does not impose the death penalty.