24 Jan 2008

Fiji TV defends reporting practice following police intervention

7:15 pm on 24 January 2008

Fiji TV says it had every right to cover a school dispute and will lodge a complaint with the police commissioner for detaining its crew.

A Fiji TV crew was questioned for five hours yesterday after police said it disobeyed an order to leave the scene where it was filming a dispute.

Police argued the crew was interfering in police business, but the crew replied it had every right to film the dispute because the school management had invited it to the scene.

The station's legal manager, Tanya Waqanika, says the incident was unacceptable.

"The freedom of the media should never be really undermined. To be denied media freedom and access by journalist and reporters was unjustifiable. We'll be bringing this to the attention of the Fiji police commissioner and also to the Fiji Media Council."

Tanya Waqanika says no charges have been laid yet.

The assistant police commissioner has confirmed that the crew was questioned, but would not comment further.