US Sheriff Apologizes For Copying Fiji PM's Easter Message

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Pacific Islands Development Program, East-West Center With Support From Center for Pacific Islands Studies, University of Hawai‘i

‘Uncanny similarities’ between Fiji gov website and post

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, April 3, 2016) – A county sheriff in the United States says he has apologised for his office posting the Fiji Prime Minister's Easter message as if it was his own.

There were some uncanny similarities between a message posted by the Frank Bainimarama and the Scotland County Sheriff's office.

A number of the sentences in the message were word for word.

The incident led to blog site Fijileaks alleging that Mr Bainmarama had plagiarised the Sheriff's message.

However the government head of Communications and IT said the Prime Minister's speech was written in Suva and posted on the government website more than 14 hours before the Sheriff in North Carolina posted a Facebook message using much of the same language.

Sheriff Ralph Kersey said an employee responsible for maintaining the page had posted the message and he was unaware it had come from the Prime Minister's office.

He said he emailed and apologised for the post and there was never any intent for the message to mislead as it was only shared in the hope someone who read it would find the importance of Easter and its true meaning.

The sheriff said the post had been removed and the employee warned when sharing a post they must have permission and include attribution.

Fijileaks also removed their original article.


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