A New Zealand journalist detained by police in Fiji says his group was the subject of trumped up allegations by a resort developer they'd been investigating.
Newsroom's Mark Jennings, Melanie Reid and Haydn Aull spent a night in custody after trying to interview the director of Freesoul Real Estate which is accused of damaging an island near Nadi.
Mark Jennings said they were released after the police chief said he didn't believe they had criminal intent in going to ask the questions.
He said there was also intervention from "senior people" in the Fiji government and he suspects also by New Zealand.
"I don't really know what happens but I think Freesoul was very annoyed with us covering this story. I think they had some influence, in terms of our being taken into the police station, and questioned on what was clearly a stupid alleged offence."
Mark Jennings said the prime minister Frank Bainimarama gave them a genuine apology and he's happy for them to keep reporting the story.
Fiji is planning to permanently ban companies which flout the country's environmental law.
Frank Bainimarama told parliament legislation to that effect would be urgently introduced in the next session.
He was speaking following the detention and release of the three New Zealand journalists who'd been investigating the harm caused by resort developer Freesoul Real Estate.
Mr Bainimarama said a strong message needed to be sent to Freesoul and other developers looking to cause Fiji harm, that they are not welcome to operate in the country.
"The Fijian people can be assured, we will not tolerate any attempts to violate the historic environmental protections enshrined in our Constitution -- protections that we will build upon with meaningful legislation."
Mr Bainimarama said the media had been an ally in helping to expose illegal practices.