NEW HINDI NEWS MAGAZINE LAUNCHED IN FIJI

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SUVA, Fiji Islands (March 9, 2000 – Pacific Media Watch/Prabhaat/Pasifik Nius/Niuswire)---A new publication, Prabhaat, has been launched as the first Hindi news and business magazine in the South Pacific.

After Fiji’s change in government last year, two Canada-based foreign investors decided to start the project in Fiji.

Former Daily Post senior journalist Ashwant Dwivedi, 25, has been appointed editor of the magazine.

"It was a long overdue project. Fiji should have had a Hindi magazine before I was even born but it was unfortunate for both the people and the country that no person had ever thought about starting one," Dwivedi said.

He said the magazine produced its first edition last month, receiving wide support from the Indian community.

"We told the people that we were an independent news medium. We have a policy that we will not take sides. Government or Opposition, if they make a mistake, they will feel the heat. If they do good they will be praised," Dwivedi said.

He said that he was approached by the investors last year to establish the project.

"After the win by the Labour Party, the foreigners agreed to come and invest in Fiji," Dwivedi said.

The general election in Fiji was held in May last year.

Dwivedi said that the magazine is also distributed in overseas countries.

The first edition of Prabhaat carried an in-depth interview with Indian farmers who claimed that they were being denied their human rights after landowners forced them to give them money, chicken and food in return of extension of ALTA lease.

Cane farmers in Fiji have also called on police department for their protection after harassment from the landowners.

Assistant Home Affairs Minister Gaffar Ahmed told the magazine he had also received similar complaints and had referred the matter to police for investigation.

The magazine also featured an in-depth story on missing arms and ammunition from the Fiji Military Forces Camp.

Title -- 2598 FIJI: New Hindi news magazine launched Date -- 9 March 2000 Byline -- Media release Origin -- Pacific Media Watch Source -- Prabhaat, via ashwantd@hotmail.com, 9/3/00  Status -- Unabridged

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