20 Sep 2010

Hopes that sale of Fiji Times will ease censorship pressure

7:39 pm on 20 September 2010

A journalist with more than forty years experience at the Fiji Times says the newspaper's enforced sale to a local owner brings hope of a limit on censorship at the paper.

Australia-owned News Limited's sale of Fiji's oldest paper to the locally-owned Motibhai Group is due to be finalised this week

A columnist on the paper's Sunday edition, Seona Smiles, says under its former owners the paper had become a prime target of the military regime's attempts to control the media.

"Now that the sale has been forced by the government perhaps these extremes will be lifted. Perhaps we'll have a second chance to establish ourselves as a newspaper of record."

Seona Smiles says there's general relief money was found locally to buy the paper and keep its valuable archives and 140 years of institutional memory going.