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Tarte Hails Journos

* See PMW item 3108, 3106

SUVA: Journalists have a tight rope to walk in order to get news and must be commended for their efforts in risky situations, according to Fiji Media Council chairman Daryl Tarte.

However, the Fiji Times reported on 15 November 2000 that the independent council would leave it to the court to decide the fate of two journalists charged in connection with the takeover of Sukanaivalu Barracks at the northern town of Labasa after the May 19 coup.

Fiji Times journalist Ruci Mafi and state-owned Radio Fiji's northern correspondent Theresa Ralogaivu were charged on November 13 with unlawful assembly and unlawful use of a motor vehicle.

They are due to appear in court on December 4.

The Fiji Times reported the pair have been accused of mingling with rebels who took over the barracks and were allegedly seen riding in their vehicles.

Tarte told the newspaper that like other citizens, journalists must abide by the law.

But because of their roles they sometimes needed to take the extra effort to get factual news. This, he said, could mean going into the rebels' camps.

"But they have to ensure they report informatively and without bias," Tarte said.

"Obviously, in this situation, someone thinks the journalists breached the law of the land by mingling with the rebels."

+++niuswire

PACIFIC MEDIA WATCH ONLINE: http://www.pmw.c2o.org


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