FIJI REGIME REJECTS ‘TIMES’ REQUEST FOR BID

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EXTENSION
No slack in forced sale of 187-year-old newspaper

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, Aug. 29, 2010) - Fiji's interim government has refused a request by the country's oldest daily newspaper, the Fiji Times, for a deadline to sell the paper to be extended.

The Times' owners, News Limited, had sought an extension after the cut-off date for expressions of interest ended last week.

But Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum has refused the request, saying Fiji's media decree stipulates that all media companies established in Fiji must be 90 percent locally owned.

Mr. Khaiyum says the Fiji Times will be closed if it can't comply with the law.

[PIR editor’s note: A Scoop report today as explained by the Permanent Secretary for Information Sharon Smith-Johns, states that the "deadline for expressions of interest in the sale of the Fiji Times has closed, but the newspaper has about one more month to become 90 percent locally owned. She clarified with Fiji Broadcasting Corporation News that it was only the expression of interest that has closed not the deadline for the actual sale of the Fiji Times."]

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