31 May 2011

Fiji media misled by blogs, says interim government

1:16 pm on 31 May 2011

The Fiji interim government says the local media have been misled by baseless reports following the escape to Tonga of a former senior military officer, Lieutenant Colonel Tevita Uluilakeba Mara, who is wanted in Fiji for sedition and breaching his bail conditions.

Col Mara, who was a co-conspirator of the 2006 coup, has posted video statements on the internet, accusing the regime of using torture and alleging that the interim prime minister, Commodore Frank Bainimamara, personally assaulted women detained at the military barracks.

The information ministry has issued a statement, urging Fiji media that reading anti-Fiji blog sites is not a source of credible information.

It says they propagate rumours and stir up emotions.

It says the local media have unfortunately fallen into a trap and used false information to lend false credibility to these stories.

The interim government, which censors the media, and the police in Fiji have declined to comment on Col Mara's statements.