6 May 2008

Fiji regime says threats to media exaggerated

3:37 pm on 6 May 2008

The Fiji interim government says reports about a threat to close certain media outlets seem to be exaggerated and taken out of context.

The warning was issued by the interim prime minister, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, at a meeting with media executives called after the interim regime deported the Fiji Times publisher, Evan Hannah.

But the Permanent Secretary for Information says it's unfair now that media is strategically picking up issues from that meeting and in the process sensationalising them.

He says the government is committed to freedom of media, provided there is fair and balanced reporting on issues.

Meanwhile, the director of the Fiji Times parent company News Limited's editorial operations, Campbell Reid says the personal intervention of interim prime minister is troubling for all Australians living in, or intending to visit Fiji.

Mr Reid has told News.com that having dispensed with parliamentary democracy and the freedom of the press, Fiji's interim government now intends to ignore the rule of law.

He says the assertion by Fiji officials that the deportation of Mr Hannah should have no bearing on investment in Fiji is laughable.