Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Fiji: a victory for freedom of speech?

The Fiji Times reports that the military is calling off its hunt for Fiji's Freedom Bloggers and abandoning its efforts to block their sites. However, it's not a complete victory:

Colonel Pita Driti said they are no longer bothered or concerned by the blogs and have decided to ignore it.

However, he did say that if bloggers were eventually found they would be taken to the camp to be questioned.

Note that, to Driti, "questioning" means assault. That in itself is reason enough for the bloggers not to let down their guard.

We'll have to wait and see whether this public backdown is matched in practice, or whether the regime is simply going to continue hunting down its critics in secret. But given the thuggery and intolerance of criticism shown so far, I suspect the latter.