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Threats To Shut Down Fijian Media Disturbing

Media Release
6 May 2008

Threats To Shut Down Fijian Media Disturbing

Threats by the Fiji military to shut down the media are a disturbing indication a return to democracy is further away than ever, according to the Commonwealth Press Union's New Zealand section.

Chairman Tim Pankhurst said the CPU and its Media Freedom Committee strongly supported their journalist colleagues in Fiji.

"The expulsion and permanent banning of Fiji Times managing director Evan Hannah in defiance of the country's High Court really ups the ante," Mr Pankhurst said.

"Frank Bainimarama has promised reform after his illegal military takeover but is heading the other way.

"He is proving a bully of the first order. Good on the Times for standing up to him in declaring it will not be intimidated."

Auckland-based Fairfax reporter Michael Field received similar treatment last year when he was held overnight in a police cell and deported the next day.

"What does it say for investment and tourism in Fiji when the country is so unstable?" Mr Pankhurst said.

"The prospects are not good."


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