5 Nov 2008

Fiji Times apologises over contempt

2:33 pm on 5 November 2008

The Fiji Times has apologised for publishing a letter to the editor criticising the ruling in court case brought by the ousted Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase against the Interim Government.

On October the 22nd, the newspaper published the letter, from a person named as Vili Navukitu said to be of Queensland, Australia, which described the High Court ruling in a contemptuous manner.

In a statement the paper accepts that, while people may comment critically on judgments of the Court, there are reasonable limits on such criticism, and the words used by the correspondent exceeded those limits in casting doubt on the integrity and independence of Fiji's courts.

It says is acknowledges that, in publishing those comments, it committed a contempt of court.

The newspaper apologises to the judges in the case and to the High Court of Fiji, and acknowledges that, as a responsible newspaper publisher, it must exercise great care in publishing comments on legal proceedings, the judiciary and the court system generally.

The Fiji Times has offered to pay costs to the office of the Attorney-General, which has begun court proceedings in respect of this contempt.

Those proceedings are due to go ahead on Monday.