26 Nov 2008

Media group praises Fiji judge for keeping coup case proceedings open

5:03 pm on 26 November 2008

The Pacific Freedom Forum has welcomed the decision by Justice Ian Lloyd to open up Fiji Court of Appeal proceedings over the legality of the military's overthrow of the Laisenia Qarase Government.

The appeal is due to be heard next March and Justice Lloyd has ruled that it be heard in open court, not in chambers.

He has noted the original case had been open to the media in the spirit of ensuring public understanding of the issues involved.

The Pacific Freedom Forum's chair, Papua New Guinea journalist Susuve Laumaea, says they commend the judge's wisdom, saying that if the case was held in chambers, it could subject the judiciary to public suspicion.

"This is the first time that officials have really put out their hand to the media to be part of what goes on over there. and the fact that it is coming from the courts is very encouraging, that there is at least some degree of democratic rights being observed over there."

Susuve Laumaea