POLICE RAID JOURNALIST ALI'S HOME FOR STATE DOCUMENTS

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SUVA, Fiji Islands (April 16, 2002 – Fiji Times/Pacific Media Watch)---A Fiji journalist's home and office was raided by a team of police intelligence officers when he refused to hand over what he believed to be leaked confidential government documents, the Fiji Times reports.

The newspaper reported on April 16, 2002 that Daily Post reporter Usman Ali said the officers dressed as civilians visited him at his office in Lautoka on Sunday morning.

"They said they wanted a document they thought I had on AFL [Airports Fiji Ltd.]," he said.

"It was faxed to me and I have a habit of throwing my papers away when I am done with [them].

"I also explained to them that I have a right to protect my sources. Despite this, they carried out the raid."

Ali had written an article based on the document the officers were after. The article was published on March 4.

He said that if the officers were honest when they said it was a serious matter, they would have reacted immediately after the article was published.

Instead the officers turned up more than a month after with claims that they were directed by the Ministry of Home Affairs.

Criminal Investigation director Senior Superintendent Emosi Vunisa said he was aware of an ongoing [investigation] into a leaked Home Affairs document. But he was unaware of a raid at Ali's home in Lautoka.

Fiji Media Council chairman Daryl Tarte said he would comment after he had read the articles.

* AFL, a state-owned corporation that operates Nadi and Nausori international airports, has long been embroiled in disputes with an air controllers company, Strategic Air Services Ltd (SASL), and unions such as the Fiji Public Service Association (FPSA). The High Court has just ruled that AFL must recognize the FPSA.

The Fiji news media have extensively covered these issues.

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

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