FIJI TIMES REACHES BIDDING DEADLINE

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Military regime forces Aussie owner to sell

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (RNZI, Aug. 25, 2010) - The deadline expires today for non-binding offers to buy out the Fiji Times Limited newspaper.

The sale is necessary to comply with new ownership requirements under the military regime’s media decree imposed in June.

Sara Vui-Talitu has more.

"Fiji’s oldest daily newspaper, the Fiji Times, is up for sale since the military regime’s declaration of a media decree required all media outlets be owned 90 percent by locals. The paper’s parent company, Rupert Murdoch’s News Limited, hired PriceWaterhouseCoopers, to handle the sale and appeared confident that the sale would go through. Expressions of interest to buy the paper were already due earlier this month. Fiji’s Permanent Secretary for Information, Sharon Smith Johns, had no comment on the forced sale of the Fiji Times shares but recently accused another newspaper under the News Limited umbrella, the Courier Mail, of publishing negative articles about Fiji in Australia. The Fiji Times has been given until September the 28th to comply with the decree’s foreign ownership provision."

[PIR editor’s note: Earlier this month, Fiji Live was shut down for running a story relating to the police commissioner and the news editor was taken into custody. "Under the interim government's media decree, no organization is allowed to be critical of the government." See story.]

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