23 Apr 2009

Calls for Pacnews to leave Suva over Fiji gagging

3:48 pm on 23 April 2009

There are calls for the regional news agency PACNEWS to leave Fiji after reports that media censorship has led it to stop reporting on the country.

The wire service, which provides news to media organisations across the Pacific, has not published news stories on Fiji for several days.

This follows reports that censors and police tried to interfere with a story it ran on its website.

Russell Hunter, the former publisher of the Fiji Sun, who is now managing editor of the Samoa Observer, says the clampdown on a regional news service has taken censorship in Fiji to a new level.

He says it is now impossible for PACNEWS to operate effectively from Suva.

"I think they have to move. It is not possible for PACNEWS to deliver an independent service from Fiji."

Russell Hunter, the managing editor of the Samoa Observer who was deported from Fiji last year.