8 Oct 2010

Fiji Times' former editor not pressured to resigns says new publisher

2:23 pm on 8 October 2010

The new publisher of the Fiji Times, Dallas Swinstead, says a former editor known for his beliefs in media freedom and independence was not pressured to resign.

Netani Rika stepped down and his deputy editor took leave just two weeks after News Limited of Australia sold the paper to Fiji's Motibhai group, in line with a media decree curbing foreign ownership.

Mr Swinstead has dismissed suggestions that they were forced to leave.

"We had - particularly Netani and I - had good discussions about where he had found himself and where the paper had found himself. It was a very sad occasion for both of us and I have a letter on my desk from him that says much the same. Our conversations over the past week have made it evident to us that you see my continued tenure at the newspaper as a major obstacle to its progress."

Dallas Swinstead says the newspaper will now take a line straight down the middle and publish articles both critical and in praise of the interim government.