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FIJI: Times contempt fine may force its closure, says NZ editor


Thursday, February 21, 2013

Item: 8206

WELLINGTON (Radio NZ International / Pacific Media Watch): New Zealand’s Sunday Star-Times newspaper says the Fiji Times may be forced out of business after being fined F300,000 (US$170,000) for contempt of court.

The Fiji Times was fined for reprinting a Sunday Star-Times article, which quoted Tai Nicholas of the Oceania Football Confederation questioning the Fiji judiciary.

Fiji’s Attorney-General said the comments scandalised the court and posed the risk of undermining public confidence in the independence and impartiality of the Fijian judiciary.

However, the Sunday Star-Times’ deputy editor, Michael Donaldson, said despite the court ruling, the paper stood by its original reporting.

He said the fine may be unaffordable for the Fiji Times.

“It’s a fine that is probably going to shut the newspaper down. And we’re outraged and appalled at this. We’ve reported a legitimate story. Our colleagues in Fiji have re-reported that and the price they’re paying for it is probably going out of business.”

Michael Donaldson said Fiji may well not have any press left to publish anything.

 

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Pacific Media Watch is compiled for the Pacific Media Centre as a regional media freedom and educational resource by a network of journalists, students, stringers and commentators.
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