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*See PMW item 2464: 

SUVA, Fiji Islands (February 26, 2000 – Pacific Media Watch/Fiji’s Daily Post)---A government backbench member of Parliament at the center of a controversial attack on journalists in Parliament last year has threatened to sue Fiji's Daily Post for publishing a photograph of him asleep in the House.

The Daily Post reported on February 26, 2000 that an angry Muthu Swamy of the Fiji Labour Party, the main partner in the coalition government, was greeted by laughter and comments in Parliament as he described the newspaper's article as "mischievous."

The previous day, the Daily Post had published, under the headline "Wakey, Wakey Muthu Swamy," a light-hearted article about Swamy's slumber, along with a photo of him asleep and a caption saying the MP was catching up on "some sleeping allowance."

"I would like to inform the House that such mischievous reporting by journalists will not be entertained and I will sue them," he was quoted by the Daily Post as saying.

Swamy claimed he was not sleeping and that he in fact had his head down while he was reading a bill about conduct rules which was being debated at the time.

On November 24, 1999, Swamy made allegations in Parliament over the personal and professional integrity of three journalists working for the Fiji Times.

He showed pictures in Parliament of one of them, political reporter Margaret Wise, asleep in a hotel room shared with a male colleague at a media convention in Vanuatu in 1996.

The statements were widely condemned for Swamy's "abuse" of parliamentary privilege for the bitter personal attacks on the journalists.

Title -- 2578 FIJI: Sleeping MP threatens to sue Daily Post Date -- 26 February 2000 Byline – None Origin -- Pacific Media Watch Source -- PMW/Fiji's Daily Post, 26/2/00 Copyright -- PMW/FDP Status -- Unabridged



By Dharmend Prasad

SUVA, Fiji Islands (February 27, 2000 – Pacific Media Watch/Fiji Sun)---Fiji's Assistant Minister for Information Lekh Ram Vayeshnoi has filed a writ in the High Court in Suva against Fiji Television in connection with a series of allegations, including staff entering his office without permission, reports the Fiji Sun.

The writ, filed early last week, also claimed that his reputation had been severely tarnished when the company televised a series of news [items] claiming he was unfit for the post and should be replaced immediately.

Vayeshnoi, through Suva law firm Maharaj Chandra and Associates, claimed that a Fiji TV reporter, on December 17 last year, entered his office without permission and began interviewing him.

He said the reporter asked him inappropriate questions without permission.

He claimed he was harassed by the actions.

No comment could be obtained by the Fiji Sun from Fiji Television last night.

Title -- 2580 FIJI: Minister sues Fiji television Date -- 27 February 2000 Byline -- Dharmend Prasad Origin -- Pacific Media Watch

Source -- Fiji Sun, 27/2/00 Copyright – FS

Status -- Abridged

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