Police Retract Porno Claim
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SUVA (Pasifik Nius): Fiji police have come under fire for retracting statements on the discovery of pornographic materials at the home of mudered Red Cross director John Scott, the Sun newspaper reports.
Police [now] say material found at Scott's residence in the Suva hillside suburb of Tamavua was "not pornographic in nature, as claimed by the media".
On July 24, a front page Daily Post report claimed, quoting a "police source", that a prominent local politician, a number of local lawyers, and some local media personalities were among "the main actors" in pornographic video tapes seized from Scott's home.
The tapes were reportedly seized by police during their investigations in the double murder which claimed the lives of Scott and his partner, Gregory Scrivener, in Suva on July 1.
The Sun reported that police spokeswoman Sergeant Unaisi Vuniwaqa had said that after viewing, the confiscated videos proved to be non-pornographic.
"We have now viewed all tapes and photographs seized from the house of Mr Scott for suspicion of pornography. However, we wish to confirm that the result is negative and that none contained any material that is pornographic in nature," Vuniwaqa said.
"There has been much speculation on the contents of these tapes and photographs in the media and therefore we would like to publicise the results for clarification."
A spokesperson for FemLINKpacific, a non-government organisation media initiative for women, said Police Commissioner Isikia Savua should have been more careful when releasing details of the material discovered at Scott's house.
Coordinator Sharon Bhagwan said Savua had clearly stated that pornographic videos and still pictures had been confiscated from the house.
"The police need to be cautioned that when they release this sort of information at press conferences, the media will take it on board and use it," Bhagwan said.
"The onus is on the police and the media over how they then use the information they have."
Bhagwan said that releasing statements on Scott and his partner's lifestyle had created a prejudice against them and Fiji's gay community.
She said many organisations were disappointed with the media coverage of Scott's murder, saying more emphasis was put on their lifestyle than the murder investigation.
* Media coverage of the case has stirred controversy and the issue featured on a Radio Australia Pacific Beat programme on July 17. http://www.asiapac.org.fj/cafepacific/resources/aspac/fiji3278.html
A Fijian man, Apete Kaisau, has been charged with the murders and has been remanded in custody until August 3. Earlier news reports had cited political links over the killings because of Scott's humanitarian role assisting the Mahendra Chaudhry Government ministers and MPs while being held hostage by rebel gunmen for 56 days in Parliament.