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Fiji Times Report Irresponsible - Finance Minister

Fiji Times Report Irresponsible Says Finance Minister

A front page report in today's Fiji Times with banner headlines "No money for projects: developments stall as officers await funds", is sensational and irresponsible, says Finance Minister Mahendra Chaudhry.

"The Fiji Times and its reporter Margaret Wise are once again trying to discredit and undermine the government, just as they did in 1999/2000, Mr Chaudhry warned.

"This is a non story. On paragraph 11 of the article the Permanent Secretary for Finance Peceli Vocea is quoted denying the allegations and Fiji Times itself says he "was adamant that district administrators had been provided funds for development projects".

A responsible and fair report would have run Mr Vocea's statement high up in the article, as second or third paragraph at least, and not bury it towards the end.

"Secondly, if the Permanent Secretary for Finance says funds have been released, was it not the responsibility of The Fiji Times to get more specific information before running such a sensational article? What was the rush?" Mr Chaudhry asked.

The reporter has not mentioned a single project that is held up for lack of funds. The other highly suspicious feature of the article is that the allegations have no source. Not a single person who made the allegation has been named.

"Is this not irresponsible behaviour on the part of The Fiji Times? It is the duty and responsibility of the paper's Editor to ensure that sources are impeccable when running such a serious story.

"As such the Fiji Times report has no credibility. Neither does the fact that it was written by a reporter with a seriously discredited record, imbibe any confidence in the report," Mr Chaudhry said.


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