14 Apr 2009

Fiji military irked by response to its censorship

10:40 am on 14 April 2009

Fiji's interim regime is reportedly unhappy with the media's response to the regime's censorship which follows last week's presidential decision to throw out the constitution.

Fiji Times staff were summoned by the interim regime to explain the paper's decision to leave columns blank.

The Fiji Times, printed "This story could not be published due to Government restrictions" across blank columns that would have otherwise had articles on pages two and three of the Sunday Times.

The Information secretary, Major Neumi Leweni, asked Fiji Times staff to explain the blanks as he was reportedly unhappy with both the empty spaces and the phrase referring to state restrictions.

Fiji's major national television station, Fiji Television Limited, did not air its regular news broadcast on Sunday night.

Sources say a state official assessing the broadcast ordered three news items be dropped before the scheduled news break after which acting station chief executive officer, Ken Clark, reportedly told him that having canned the heart of the bulletin there really was nothing else worth airing.

One of the stories had speculated on the possible reinstatement of Anthony Gates as Chief Justice and the fact that the Fiji Law Society has written to the Office of the President seeking an audience with Ratu Josefa Iloilo to discuss the possible revocation of the order that sacked magistrates and judges.

Meanwhile, Fijivillage reports that the Ministry of Information has sent letters to all news directors advising them that all news stories published from now on should not carry any negativity.

The interim Attorney General, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, says he wants the news to be pro-Fiji.