15 Dec 2006

Fiji military orders newspaper editor to leave country

9:27 am on 15 December 2006

Fiji's military has ordered that the editor-in-chief of the Daily Post newspaper, Robert Wolfgramm, be deported to Australia immediately.

Mr Wolfgramm, who is an indigenous Fijian born in Suva, has been an Australian citizen since 1989 and is a close relative of the Post's general manager, Mesake Koroi.

Mr Wolfgramm has told the Fiji Times newspaper that the order to deport him and treat him as a foreigner in his own country was a gross insult to his chiefly ancestors.

He told Australian media last weekend that he had already sent his family to Australia.

Mr Wolfgramm says his removal is probably because the newspaper has been "a voice for democracy" in the 20 months he has held the post.

The deportation follows a meeting with the military when the Post's staff were warned to tone down the content of images and anti-military sentiment it has been publishing.

Meanwhile, the Post's general manager, Mesake Koroi, remains on his home island of Vanuabalavu while soldiers have been looking for him at his home near Nausori.