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Fiji TV Protects Source

21 April 2005

Fiji TV Protects Source

- http://www.fijitimes.com.fj/story.aspx?id=19913

SUVA (Fiji Times Online/Pacific Media Watch): A Fiji television company yesterday refused to yield to police pressure and reveal the name of the officer who allegedly leaked a police statement central to the 2000 coup investigations that mysteriously disappeared.

Officers from the Police Serious Fraud Unit served a search warrant on Fiji TV yesterday afternoon in order to obtain the purported police statement of Lieutenant-Colonel Viliame Seruvakula made during the 2000 coup investigations. And despite pressure, Fiji TV remained adamant that it would protect its source.

Fiji TV news director Netani Rika said he would only give a copy of Lt-Col Seruvakula's statement to police but would not reveal the source of information.

"As a responsible organisation bound by law, we gave them a copy of the document," he said.

"But we are bound by ethics, and we will not reveal the source of the information."

The document was leaked to the media, prompting police to conduct an internal probe into the leaking of classified information.

It was the subject of a Fiji TV news item on Wednesday night.

Police have yet to determine whether the document was an original or a copy of Lt-Col Seruvakula's statement to police.

In its report, they revealed that Lt-Col Seruvakula's statement went missing from the police investigation files into the 2000 coup. The officer is quoted in the statement to have received a bribe of $260,000. The bribe was offered to buy his silence on the identity of the coup plotters.

Police Commissioner Andrew Hughes said he was disappointed with the media.

He said the public disclosure of sensitive information did not help police investigations.

Hughes said his officers were determined to find the leak.

"Normally, we enjoy good relations with the media but I am a bit disappointed because from time to time, the media does something like this," Hughes said.

ENDS

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