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Fiji Times Sacks Controversial Chief-Of-Staff

Fiji Times Sacks Controversial Chief-Of-Staff, Says Paper

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TIMES DISMISSES CHIEF-OF-STAFF
http://www.fijilive.com/news/news.php3?art=12/12f.html

SUVA (Daily Post/Pacific Media Watch) Fiji Times chief-of-staff Margaret Wise has been dismissed for allegedly leaking editorial material to other media organisations yesterday, reports the Daily Post.

Fiji Times Ltd managing director Tony Yianni said the act was "considered grossly unprofessional and utterly unethical".

Yianni said the material had been rejected [editorially] for legal reasons.

Wise claimed allegations against her were not true.

She believes the management should have given her the opportunity to reply since "I have served them faithfully for the last 10 years".

"I would have expected, given the nature of my work, that they would have given me the opportunity to reply," Wise said.

"The allegations are baseless."

It is understood Wise wrote to the editor-in-chief Russel Hunter on behalf of the staff regarding their concerns on how to handle stories of individuals who are subjected to police investigations and have not been charged.

Wise claims they (staff) wanted clear directions on the writing of the story because there have been cases in the past where reporters have run stories of people who are still under police investigation and have even named them.

Wise claims that in letters written by Hunter there were no explanations of why the materials had been rejected since the staff wanted to know.

* Pacific Media Watch reports that Margaret Wise was at the centre of controversy over her reporting of the Chaudhry Labour-led Government ousted in George Speight's putsch on 19 May 2000.

She has also been at the centre of a long-running paternity case against former Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka. He was reported in the Fiji Times of July 26 to have agreed to pay her $32.50 a week in child maintenance following a hearing in the Domestic Court.

Wise is the third senior Fijian editorial person to have been recently ousted at the Fiji Times following disputes with the Australian editor-in-chief; former deputy editor Netani Rika resigned to become news director at Fiji TV and deputy chief reporter Matelita Ragogo resigned to take up further journalism studies and freelance work.

+++niuswire

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