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Radio station and pro-democracy group clash

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SUVA: The Citizens Constitutional Forum (CCF) and the state-run Fiji Islands Broadcasting Corporation Ltd (FBC) have run into another hitch over on-air advertising [supporting democracy], reports the Fiji Sun.

FBC has refused to broadcast a Fijian advertisement prepared by Ratu Meli Vesikula.

Forum executive director Rev Akuila Yabaki said the FBC had agreed to run the advertisement but the radio station had refused to run it.

In a letter to FBC acting chief executive Francis Herman and board member Isireli Kini, Rev Yabaki requested an explanation for the station's refusal to broadcast the advertisement.

Rev Yabaki said the script of the advertisement was factual and did not defame anyone. The station had previously given prominence to those involved in the Parliamentary takeover on May 19, including an interview with an independent MP implicated in the attempted coup, Simione Kaitani.

"After May 19, FBC was freely broadcasting on the news the direct appeal of people like Simione Kaitani to Fijians to come to Parliament and support George Speight," he said.

"This was broadcasting to support illegal activities. Now the situation is more normal and we want to advertise our views in support of legality and moderation - and you refuse to broadcast," said Rev Yabaki.

FBC had recently rejected Blue Day (for democracy) advertisements on Radio Fiji, saying it would only run advertisements on the campaign if organisers "conform to guidelines".

Herman said in a letter this week that no reference must be made to the 1997 constitution until such time as the appeal and subsequent legal proceedings were disposed of.



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