Mathew Wale highlighted this at the Inquiry into the Public Emergency Bill 2021, when the Media Association of Solomon Islands (MASI) Executive Board Members who appeared before the Bills and Legislative Committee, last Tuesday.
Mr. Wale said Media is an important member of the legislation, especially with the Public Emergency Bill.
“You are the fourth estate and have the critical role to ensure what the government does is reasonable, justifiable and proportionate. That is because of the norms that we have in the democratic society,” Mr Wale said.
He said the bill is very important because the country is given the legislative platform, maximum flexibility and powers to the government to respond effectively to the pandemic or a health emergency situation.
He explained this is very important because the country have not had that bill.
Wale added, the constitution allow the fundamental rights and basic individual rights can be engrossed upon by the legislation.
“But there must be circumstances to justify it. And the exception must be reasonable for a democracy and that is why it is very important for you people at the media to understand,” Wale said.
Wale said that there are number of issues the Committee tried to take witnesses to speak of. These lining issues are the time frame of the state of public emergency, penalties within the bill, separation of powers which the bill have given the power to Prime Minister is reasonable or justifiable.
Meanwhile, MASI President, Georgina Kekea thanked the Bills and Legislative Committee to invite MASI to be part of the very important bills and legislature.
Ms. Kekea said as an independent media it is very important to be part of the Inquiry into the Public Emergency Bill 2021.
By ESTHER NURIA