28 Mar 2017

Call for Fiji Times sedition charge to be dropped

12:04 pm on 28 March 2017

Amnesty International says sedition charges against The Fiji Times could have a chilling effect on freedom of expression and for other news outlets in the country.

The Fiji Office of Director of Public Prosecutions charged the newspaper with sedition after earlier accusing it and its senior staff of inciting communal antagonism over a newspaper article.

The case relates to an article published in the vernacular iTaukei newspaper Nai Lalakai on April 27 last year.

The Fiji Times

The Fiji Times building in Suva Photo: Matthias Süßen

Amnesty's Pacific Researcher Kate Schuetze said the charges were very serious and should be dropped.

Ms Schuetze said it showed there was still suppression of freedom of expression in Fiji.

"We are talking about a small country with very few outlets and here we have one - The Fiji times - trying to play an independent role," she said.

The maximum sentence for sedition is seven years imprisonment while communal antagonism carries a maximum prison term of 10 years.

The sedition charges are being heard in court today in Suva.