6 Mar 2008

Fiji military mistakenly summon reporter

3:04 pm on 6 March 2008

Senior members of the Fiji military have mistakenly summoned a journalist to explain his actions after mishearing a radio story that he had written.

Four senior journalists from the Fiji Broadcasting Corporation attended the meeting in support of their colleague who had covered a story about the Interim Finance Minister Mahendra Chaudhry.

News editor, Ioane Burese, says the reporter received a tip off that the army's 3rd Infantry Regiment was planning to oust Mr Chaudhry while investigations were carried out into allegations of tax evasion.

Mr Burese says the reporter interviewed the military who denied the story and this was the version that was aired by the station.

He says they received a telephone call from the military summoning the reporter to the government building to explain his story but once all five journalists arrived they discovered military officers had got their facts wrong.

"There was a huge, huge misunderstanding of the whole story. It appears that whoever heard the story that was played on air the next day, they probably could have heard the story wrong, and after seeing the scripts that we put to air and after listening to the tapes, there was general agreement that they had heard it wrong and that the whole issue was a non-event, somebody just hearing something wrong."

Ioane Burese of the Fiji Broadcasting Corporation.

Last week, the interim prime minister, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, assured the public that media freedom is secure and guaranteed.