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FIJI: Sun newspaper 'on notice' over racism allegation against preacher-MP

Islands Business published a legal letter sent to the Fiji Sun managing editor (news) on March 6. Image: PMC file

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Item: 10102

By Netani Rika
SUVA (Islands Business/Pacific Media Watch): Pro-government Fiji Sun newspaper has been put on notice for allegations made against Opposition Member of Parliament Parmod Chand.

Accused of making racist comments, the National Federation Party MP and lay preacher has hit back with a letter from his lawyers.

The allegations stem from claims by Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum who claimed Chand had uttered racist comments at a political gathering at Vunavutu on February 20.

Sayed-Khaiyum through the Fiji Sun offered three people who claimed they had heard the comments.

But Richard Naidu of the Suva law firm, Munro Leys, said Chand was not at Vunavutu on February 20, did not make the alleged comments and then cast doubt on the report.

Naidu suggested in his letter to Sun managing editor Jyoti Pratibha that there was no such meeting and the reports about Chand published in the newspaper on March 5 and 6 were untrue.

He advised the newspaper to seek legal advice.

Earlier in the week Prime Minister, Rear-Admiral (ret) Voreqe Bainimarama, repeated the alleged comments in Parliament, saying he had directed police to investigate Chand.

This is the fourth NFP parliamentarian to be investigated during the current term of Parliament in what appears to be an attempt to have them removed from the house.

Party Leader Dr Biman Prasad, Roko Tupou Draunidalo and Prem Singh all faced similar attacks.

Draunidalo was suspended and later quit her seat allowing Chand to enter Parliament.

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