28 Jan 2009

Deportation of publisher from Fiji said to show contempt for the rule of law

2:14 pm on 28 January 2009

The Pacific Concerns Resource Centre is disappointed Fiji's interim government deported the Australian publisher, Rex Gardner suddenly and without any clear reason.

Rex Gardner, who was also the acting CEO of the Fiji Times, was forced to leave Fiji yesterday on a flight to Sydney, after being told he was an illegal immigrant.

PCRC's Human Rights officer Peter Emberson says like other deportation cases before, the fact that eviction processes weren't followed shows the contempt the military led government have for the rule of law.

He says that efforts to ensure freedom of speech in this country must be maintained

"It's most unfortunate for the freedoms that we've kind of been enjoying the past few months with the repeated assurance by the government that media freedom is free here in this country. But I think its a call to all media practitioners and news media personnel in Fiji to ensure that they are continuously vigilant and hold the government to account and aren't being intimidated by these fear tactics that the government is playing at."

Peter Emberson says many organisations in Fiji have condemned the interim government's move to deport Mr Garner.