8 Oct 2010

Media watchdog critical of Fiji Times changes

9:26 am on 8 October 2010

The watchdog Pacific Freedom Forum says confusion at the top of the Fiji Times is a reflection of the further deterioration of media freedom under the interim regime.

Netani Rika has resigned as editor, two weeks after News Limited of Australia sold the paper to Fiji's Motibhai group in line with a media decree by the interim regime curbing foreign ownership.

And the deputy editor, Sophie Foster, has taken what is being described as sudden leave.

The interim chair of the Forum, Susuve Laumaea, says there's no longer an independent news outlet in Fiji.

"I think the regime has a list of people they don't want to continue to operate the Fiji Times under the new ownership, and I think Netani and Sophie were high on the list of the unwanted people. I think the industry is really at a loss in Fiji. I think mainstream media in Fiji is ineffective."

Susuve Laumaea says he believes the new leadership of the newspaper appears to be friendly with the military.