27 Jan 2009

Pacific journalist group says deportation of second Fiji Times publisher is despicable

9:40 am on 27 January 2009

A Pacific journalist online group says the deportation of the second publisher of the Fiji Times is despicable and unacceptable.

Rex Gardner, the Australian publisher and acting CEO of the Fiji Times, is being deported this morning out of Fiji.

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.

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

Pacific Media Freedom Forum online co-chair, Monica Miller, says that working in the Fiji media has become increasingly difficult, due to the lack of media freedom.

"When will it ever end, this is the second time a publisher of the Fiji Times that has been ordered out of the country, and what does it take for the government to continue to become upset and we don't know the criteria is anymore because I mean anything that the journalists there write, you never know who is you going to upset, and this has to upset."

Monica Miller, the co-chair of the Pacific Media Freedom Forum online group.

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

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