Suva (The Fiji Sun/PINA Nius Online, 24 August 2000) - Fiji's new interim government
has welcomed back Fiji Times editor-in-chief Russell Hunter to work in the country,
The Fiji Sun reported today. Hunter, who is originally from Scotland, was granted
a three-year work permit.
Hunter had been forced to leave the country in April by the then coalition government led by Mahendra Chaudhry.
It had refused to renew his work permit and said a local must be appointed to the position. Hunter's departure came just weeks before the Chaudhry government was itself ousted following the May 19 takeover of Parliament by armed rebels.
The new interim government's Minister for Immigration and Home Affairs, Ratu Temo Ratakele, was quoted by The Fiji Sun as saying Hunter's work permit was issued following a recommendation from the Ministry of Information.
"Also noted was the fact that key posts needed to be taken up by overseas people to protect investments in our country," Ratu Talemo said.
Ratu Talemo said, "The Fiji Times" has been told to train a local who could take up the post when the permit expires.
Pacific Islands News Association president William Parkinson had said the Chaudhry government's refusal to renew Hunter's work permit was a clear attempt to interfere in the newspaper's editorial independence.
Parkinson said that The Fiji Times was being victimized because the newspaper was doing what any decent news organization should be doing -informing the public without fear or favor. But it seemed the Chaudhry government did not like scrutiny, Parkinson said.
The Fiji Times, which is part of Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation, has local editors for its daily newspaper, Sunday newspaper, and Fijian and Hindi language weekly newspapers, and an editor-in-chief for the group posted from News Corporation.
Hunter has extensive newspaper management and training experience in Britain, Australia and the Pacific Islands, and last year was elected by the region's newspapers and magazines as their representative to the PINA executive.
Pacific Islands News Association (PINA)
By Shameel Prasad
SUVA, Fiji Islands (August 24, 2000 - Fiji Sun/Pacific Media Watch)---The wealthy
Ah Koy family has threatened legal action against The Fiji Sun and the former
Agriculture Minister in the deposed elected People's Coalition government, Poseci
Bune, for statements he made on Radio New Zealand, the Fiji Sun reports.
The family believes that claims made by Bune against businessman Jim Ah Koy and Police Commissioner Isikia Savua on Radio New Zealand on August 22, 2000 were defamatory.
A statement by the family said that they urge the interim administration and those in authority to expedite the public inquiry into the coup to establish the facts of the recent political events in Fiji.
Fiji Sun publisher Tony Singh said that the newspaper did not make any allegations but reported on statements made on an overseas radio station by Bune.
Singh said that the company's intentions were transparent and it would not make allegations that it could not substantiate.
He said that as a news medium, the newspaper would continue to report on statements made openly by prominent politicians.
Singh said that he spoke to the Ah Koys yesterday and offered publication of their side of the story.
Singh added that the newspaper had not published a number of stories despite obtaining documentation and recorded face-to-face interviews with key people for the sake of national security.
He said there were numerous sources that also heard the interview by Bune with Radio NZ.
Singh said that the newspaper respected Ah Koy's integrity.
* Persistent allegations over the coup have dogged former Finance Minister Jim Ah Koy, which he has denied. On May 24, five days after the armed seizure of Parliament and the elected government, Ah Koy took full-page advertisements in the three national dailies denying involvement. His statement was also broadcast on Fiji Television but his bitter attack on the Chaudhry government while being held hostage at gunpoint was described by media
analysts as "inflammatory."
Title -- 2918 MEDIA: Ah Koy threatens to sue Fiji Sun
Date -- 24 August 2000
Byline -- Shameel Prasad
Origin -- Pacific Media Watch
Source -- Fiji Sun, 24/8/00
Copyright ? FS
Status -- Unabridged
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