21 Feb 2013

Fiji Times fine may force its closure, says NZ editor

4:01 pm on 21 February 2013

New Zealand's Sunday Star Times newspaper says the Fiji Times may be forced out of business after being fined 170,000 US dollars for contempt of court.

The Fiji Times was fined for reprinting a Sunday Star article, which quoted Tai Nicholas of the Oceania Football Confederation questioning the Fiji judiciary.

Fiji's attorney-general said the comments scandalised the court and posed the risk of undermining public confidence in the independence and impartiality of the Fijian judiciary.

However, the Sunday Star's deputy editor, Michael Donaldson, says despite the court ruling, the paper stands by its original reporting.

He says the fine may be unaffordable for the Fiji Times.

"It's a fine that is probably going to shut the newspaper down. And we're outraged and appalled at this. We've reported a legitimate story. Our colleagues in Fiji have re-reported that and the price they're paying for it is probably going out of business."

Michael Donaldson says Fiji may well not have any press left to publish anything.