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Fiji Newspaper Under Fire For Publishing Cartoons

Fiji Newspaper Under Fire For Publishing Controversial Cartoons

SUVA (IFEX/Pacific Media Watch): Fiji's Daily Post newspaper today issued a statement justifying its publication of controversial cartoons lampooning the prophet Muhammad, the cause of riots and protests overseas.

Company general manager Mesake Koroi said the Daily Post stood by its decision to publish the cartoons.

"Fiji Daily Post did not invent the cartoons but we reported them in our Sunday Post edition of February 5 because we are in the business of news reporting," Koroi said.

"This newspaper had no intention to malign Islam as a religion or to cast any slur on those practising Islam."

The Fiji Muslim League has expressed disappointment and outrage over the reproduction of the cartoons.

League president Senator Hafiz Khan told Fiji Broadcasting Corporation News that the explanation by the Sunday Post, that the article was "only a reproduction" of an international article, was not acceptable.

"Not only that, it is also depiction in a very deregulatory manner and we were quite surprised that such an article has turned up in Fiji because Fiji is very respectful of everybody's feelings; we are quite concerned that Daily Post has decide to print that in Sunday's paper," Khan said.

At least one political party has come out stating its disgust at the decision by the newspaper to publish the cartoons.

The National Federation Party is called the reprinting of the cartoon "blasphemous".

"This issue should not be treated lightly and has now reached intolerable levels," general secretary Pramod Rae said.



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