13 Feb 2018

Fiji politician says detention of journalists concerning

5:00 pm on 13 February 2018

The president of the Fiji opposition party, the National Federation Party, says the detention of three Islands Business journalists under the Public Order Act is deeply concerning.

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Pio Tikoduadua Photo: Fiji govt

Islands Business magazine posted a story last week suggesting the employment contract of Magistrate Andrew See had ended.

Mr See had ruled in favour of Air Terminal Service workers last month in the Employment Relations Tribunal.

The police then reacted by questioning Islands Business journalists and searching their offices and homes.

Pio Tikoduadua said the journalists were told they were suspected of "maliciously fabricating" information or spreading "false news reports to create public alarm" under s.15 of the Public Order Act.

But he asked how a news story about a magistrate's appointment could cause public alarm?

The NFP president said if a news media report was wrong, then there were legal remedies available against the publisher.

He said there was no need to detain the publisher and investigate him for a crime.

Mr Tikoduadua said the Fiji First government wanted to suppress any news reporting by anyone of anything that it does not like, using any excuse.

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