FIJI BROADCASTING EDITOR SAYS FREEDOMS CURTAILED

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Cites chill on reporting following grilling by military

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, March 6, 2008) – The editor of the Fiji Broadcasting Corporation says media freedom has been affected by the coup.

His comments come following a military summons of a journalist who had to explain a radio story that he had written.

[PIR editor’s note: Fiji Broadcasting Corporation is a government-owned national radio broadcaster providing AM and FM community broadcasts in three languages: Fijian, Hindustani (Indo-Fijian) and English.]

Five journalists from the Fiji Broadcasting Corporation Limited attended the meeting over the story about the Interim Finance Minister Mahendra Chaudhry.

News editor, Ioane Burese, says it turned out the military had got their facts wrong and had mis-heard the story and the journalists were allowed to leave government house.

However Mr Burese says media freedom is being curtailed which will impact on the stories they write.

"Because of the revolutionary circumstances that have taken place since the coup, we’ve come to accept that this is the way things are done as far as the military is concerned, as far as the media freedom is concerned it’s bound by what the military concede is what can be covered and not covered. It puts us in a certain kind of pressure. We could be limited to broadcasting or publishing half truths."

Last week, the interim prime minister, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, assured the public that media freedom is secure and guaranteed.

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