14 Aug 2009

Media restriction adds to Fiji Forum mystery

12:35 pm on 14 August 2009

A Fiji freelance journalist says heavy restrictions on media at last week's Pacific Islands Forum in Australia prevented reporters from potentially recognising two Fiji men who allegedly sneaked into the meeting on Solomon Islands passports.

Gorethy Kenneth, who works for PNG's Post Courier newspaper, says she spoke with two Fiji government advisors attended the event in Cairns, despite Fiji's suspension from the Forum and travel bans on the regime's key members.

Fiji journalist Samisoni Pareti says while he and other journalists did not spot any Fiji officials at the Forum, it does not mean they weren't there.

"In Cairns it was impossible for us to go over to the other side of the building where the leaders were and the officials were. There was security people manning the doors. If you go in there you have to go by invitation and only to interview the official or head of delegation that you have asked to interview. So if the Fiji officials were harbouring the meeting area, we wouldn't have had a clue because we wouldn't have been able to see them."

Samisoni Pareti says if the Fijian officials were at the forum, they may have deliberately stayed quiet to prevent having their cover exposed.