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Fiji extends emergency and media censorship

world Updated: May 04, 2009 10:55 IST

Fiji's military regime will extend emergency regulations, which include a ban on political meetings and media censorship, for another month, Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said on Monday.

Extension of emergency powers announced April 10 after the constitution was abolished and the Pacific island nation's judges sacked was necessary because the media was "unprofessional and biased," he told Radio New Zealand in an interview from the capital

The emergency regulations, due to expire next Sunday, will remain in place until June 10.

The decision follows the 16-member South Pacific Forum's suspension of Fiji's membership on Saturday for failing to name a date for a return to democracy and fresh elections this year.

Military strongman Voreqe Bainimarama has governed Fiji since ousting the elected government in a bloodless coup in December 2006.

He has said there will be no elections until September 2014 when changes to the electoral system giving the ethnic Indian minority equal voting rights with indigenous Fijians will be in place.

Fiji Law Society president Dorsami Naidu told Radio New Zealand the regime was shutting down any dissent and there was no justification for the emergency regulations.

He said the situation in the country of about 840,000 people was very unpredictable.

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