FIJI REGIME TAKES SWING AT AUSSIE-OWNED NEWSPAPER

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Times called ‘condescending’, ‘neo-colonialist’

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, July 7, 2010) – Fiji’s Permanent Secretary for Information Sharon Smith-Johns has accused the Fiji Times of using propaganda to protect its investment in Fiji.

In last month’s Media Decree, the interim regime gave News Limited three months to sell 90 percent of its shares to Fiji stakeholders or face closure.

Ms Smith-Johns, who is the chief censor, says recent claims by the Fiji Times that they are the only major independent news service is condescending to the rest of the journalists in Fiji.

She has also accused News Limited, which is the Australian owner of the Fiji Times, of trying to undermine the economy of Fiji.

And Ms Smith-Johns says Amnesty International’s comments about the code of ethics for journalists show they have no idea of the subject they are talking about.

She has called on News Ltd to stop playing politics with the Fijian people and get off their high moral grounds of superiority complex and neo-colonialism.

When the Media Decree was passed, the regime retracted its earlier promise to end the emergency regulations imposed in April last year.

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