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3 News Journalist Banned from Fiji

24 May 2004

3 News Journalist Banned From Fiji For Family Holiday

3 News journalist Jeff Hampton has been banned from entering Fiji for a holiday with his family.

While his wife and three children were permitted to enter the country at Nadi airport yesterday (Sunday 23 May), Fijian Immigration authorities put Hampton on the next flight back to New Zealand labeling him a “prohibited immigrant”.

Director of 3 News and Current Affairs Mark Jennings says it is understood Hampton’s ban relates to two stories about armed gunmen in Fiji that aired during 3 News in late 2000. The stories featured footage of Fijian men firing automatic rifles outside an Indian school complex in Labasa on the Fiji island of Vanua Levu.

The items were the subject of a complaint by the Fiji High Commissioner Isimeli Bainimara to the Broadcasting Standards Authority.

“Mr Bainimara claimed the stories were inaccurate and misleading, however only one aspect of the complaint was upheld and that was essentially technical. No penalty was imposed by the BSA and their finding on the other complaints was that they were not unbalanced or misleading in any way.”

“I am surprised that Jeff has been banned from entering Fiji for a family holiday and incredulous that he should be subjected to this treatment over a story that was proven to be objective,” says Mr Jennings. “I hope the matter can be resolved quickly.”

“I am concerned about Fiji’s lack of respect for freedom of the press and I support Prime Minister Helen Clark’s call for any blacklist to be a public document.”


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