28 Oct 2016

Fiji Times denies communal antagonism charges

5:44 pm on 28 October 2016

The Fiji Times newspaper has pleaded not guilty to charges of inciting communal antagonism.

Fred Wesley, Editor of the Fiji Times

Fred Wesley, Editor of the Fiji Times Photo: RNZI / Sally Round

The company's managing director submitted the plea on behalf of the organisation in the High Court in Suva on Friday morning.

The director of public prosecutions laid the charges over an article in the iTaukei language newspaper, Nai Lalakai, regarding the Muslim community.

The article was written by Josaia Waqabaca, who was jailed after the 2000 coup for his role in a plot to kill the then-military commander - and now prime minister - Frank Bainimarama.

Earlier this month Mr Waqabaca, along with the editor of Nai Lalakai, Anare Ravula, the Fiji Times editor-in-chief Fred Wesley, and its publisher Hank Arts all pleaded not guilty to same charges.

If convicted, they face a maximum of ten years in prison.

The case has been adjourned to the 30th of November for a pre-trial conference.

The accused have all been granted bail.