FIJI POLICE RETRACT PORNO CLAIM IN RED CROSS MURDER

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By Shiwani Diwakar

SUVA, Fiji Islands (July 26, 2001 - The Sun/Pasifik Nius)---Fiji police have come under fire for retracting statements on the discovery of pornographic materials at the home of murdered Red Cross director John Scott, the Sun newspaper reports.

Police [now] say material found at Scott's residence in the Suva hillside suburb of Tamavua was "not pornographic in nature, as claimed by the media."

On July 24, a front page Daily Post report claimed, quoting a "police source," that a prominent local politician, a number of local lawyers, and some local media personalities were among "the main actors" in pornographic video tapes seized from Scott's home.

The tapes were reportedly seized by police during their investigations into the double murder that claimed the lives of Scott and his partner, Gregory Scrivener, in Suva on July 1.

The Sun reported that police spokeswoman Sergeant Unaisi Vuniwaqa had said that after viewing, the confiscated videos proved to be non-pornographic.

"We have now viewed all tapes and photographs seized from the house of Mr. Scott for suspicion of pornography. However, we wish to confirm that the result is negative and that none contained any material that is pornographic in nature," Vuniwaqa said.

"There has been much speculation on the contents of these tapes and photographs in the media and therefore we would like to publicize the results for clarification."

A spokesperson for FemLINKpacific, a non-government organization media initiative for women, said Police Commissioner Isikia Savua should have been more careful when releasing details of the material discovered at Scott's house.

Coordinator Sharon Bhagwan said Savua had clearly stated that pornographic videos and still pictures had been confiscated from the house.

"The police need to be cautioned that when they release this sort of information at press conferences, the media will take it on board and use it," Bhagwan said.

"The onus is on the police and the media over how they then use the information they have."

Bhagwan said that releasing statements on Scott and his partner's lifestyle had created a prejudice against them and Fiji's gay community.

She said many organizations were disappointed with the media coverage of Scott's murder, saying more emphasis was put on their lifestyle than the murder investigation.

* Media coverage of the case has stirred controversy and the issue featured on a Radio Australia Pacific Beat program on July 17.

http://www.asiapac.org.fj/cafepacific/resources/aspac/fiji3278.html 

A Fijian man, Apete Kaisau, has been charged with the murders and has been remanded in custody until August 3. Earlier news reports had cited political links over the killings because of Scott's humanitarian role assisting the Mahendra Chaudhry government ministers and MPs while being held hostage by rebel gunmen for 56 days in Parliament.

* See Pasifik Nius and Pacific Media Watch item 3283 [http://www.usp.ac.fj/journ/nius/index.html

Title -- 3285 CRIME: Fiji police retract porn allegations Date -- 26 July 2001 Byline -- Shiwani Diwakar Origin -- Pacific Media Watch Source -- The (Fiji) Sun, 26/7/1 Copyright -- FS Status -- Unabridged

USP Pacific Journalism Online: http://www.usp.ac.fj/journ/  USP Pasifik Nius: http://www.usp.ac.fj/journ/nius/index.html  USP Pasifik Nius stories on Scoop (NZ): http://www.scoop.co.nz/international.htm  Have your say: http://www.TheGuestBook.com/vgbook/109497.gbook 

RED CROSS MURDER TAPES AND PHOTOS NOT PORN: FIJI POLICE

SUVA, Fiji Islands (July 26, 2001 – Fiji Times)---Police yesterday said video tapes and photographs seized from the residence of the late John Scott were not pornographic.

Sergeant Unaisi Vuniwaqa said police had viewed all the seized tapes and photographs.

She said they were forced to clarify the issue because of speculation in the media on the contents of the tapes and photographs.

Police Commissioner Isikia Savua had suggested during a press interview that some of the videotapes contained pornographic material.

[See: Fiji Ex-MP In Porn Tapes, Ties To Red Cross Killing]

The tapes and photographs were seized together with other things during the investigation into the gruesome killing of Mr. Scott and his partner Gregory Scrivener early this month.

Police have handed over substances found at the residence during the murder investigation to a government analyst.

Sergeant Vuniwaqa said white powder was found at the murder scene.

"The substances has been given to the government analyst and we are expecting to get a reply soon,'' she said.

According to Sergeant Vuniwaqa, police could not get a report earlier because the analyst was involved with another investigation.

She said the analyst would determine the weight and the value of the white powder.

For additional reports from the Fiji Times, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/Fiji Times.

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