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Walks out on country’s media censor

PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Radio Australia, July 27, 2009) - The Editor-in-Chief of the Fiji Times has walked out of the Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) conference in Vanuatu, in protest at having to share a panel with the Fiji interim government’s censor.

The editor, Netani Rika, said he could not sit with the people who were showing the Fiji media "no respect back at home" and excused himself from the panel.

Earlier, Mr. Rika delivered an address to a conference session called "Shooting the messenger: Intimidation and violence against Pacific Media practitioners."

Rika had detailed instances of intimidation and harassment his journalists had faced from the military-led government.

The representative from the Fiji Ministry of Information, Lance Corporal Talei Tora, defended the country’s severe censorship saying the Fiji media were irresponsible.

Media delegates from other island countries questioned the presence of the lance corporal.

Other delegates suggested Fiji’s Information Ministry should be expelled from PINA membership because of its role in enforcing the military-led government’s censorship of the news in Fiji.


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