10 Sep 2003

Fiji government not interested in controlling paper says minister

4:06 pm on 10 September 2003

Fiji's minister of information, Simione Kaitani, says the government isn't attempting to take control of the Daily Post newspaper but to deal with its financial losses .

The paper's board has just announced that the managing director, Yashwant Gounder, has gone and the management contract with Associated Media Limited has been terminated.

The deputy secretary for public enterprises, Lenaitasi Korodrau, is to be the acting chief executive until a permanent appointment is made.

But, Mr Kaitani says the government, which is the single largest shareholder with over 40 percent, and the board, are more concerned with stemming mounting losses than editorial control.

"The board has been very, very concerned about the performance and the return on investment to the shareholders. From the government's side we also raised our concern about the problems of the financial profitability of the company. That I believe is all part of the reasons why the Associated Media Limited has to go from the board's perspective."

Fiji's minister of information says the government is yet to make a decision as to whether it will keep its shares in the business or look at other options.

It's been reported that the Daily Post and the Sun were looking at a merger earlier this year.