27 Jan 2009

Australian publisher of Fiji Times is being deported from Fiji

5:24 am on 27 January 2009

The Australian publisher of the Fiji Times, Rex Gardner, is being deported from Fiji, eight months after his predecessor was also ordered out of the country.

Fiji's interim government has declared Mr Gardner, the newspaper's publisher and acting chief executive officer, to be a prohibited immigrant and ordered his removal from the country.

The order was signed on Friday by the permanent secretary for defence, Peniame Naqasima, and was served on Mr Gardner at his office in Suva yesterday afternoon.

Australian-born Mr Gardner is expected to be deported from Fiji this morning, when he is likely to be put on a flight to Sydney.

It is the second time the interim government of Commodore Frank Bainimarama has deported a publisher of the Fiji Times, a News Ltd publication.

In May last year, its Australian publisher Evan Hannah was deported amid claims he was a security threat.

Three months earlier, another Australian publisher, Russell Hunter of the Fiji Sun newspaper, was deported following the publication of a series of controversial articles.