FIJI ATTORNEY GENERAL BALE FAVORS CRIMINAL LIBEL LAW

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SUVA, Fiji Islands (January 22, 2002 - Daily Post/PINA Nius Online)---2002) - Fiji's Attorney General -- saying he has fallen victim to what he termed "arsonist and lynch mob journalism" -- has supported making libel a criminal rather than civil offence.

Qoriniasi Bale said that it should be a criminal offence for any person to deliberately or recklessly defame another by publishing information that the publisher knew or ought to have known was untrue.

"A journalist who is certain of the truth and correctness of what he or she publishes about others should not fear the likelihood of offending under this Criminal Act," the Attorney General said.

Bale has recently featured in newspaper reports alleging he gave legal advice to Fiji Broadcasting Corporation union members who are in dispute with the state-owned broadcaster.

The government has also faced a series of embarrassing news media allegations over a multi-million dollar scam in an agriculture assistance scheme.

Minister for Information Josefa Vosanibola said unfounded and baseless reporting is now common and he would like the proposed Media Legislation Act to be passed in Parliament.

For additional reports from Fiji’s Daily Post, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Other News Resources/FijiLive.

Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) Website: http://www.pinanius.org 

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