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Judge Rejects Prosecution Bid To Ban Media

Judge Rejects Prosecution Bid To Ban Media From Treason Case

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SUVA (Daily Post/FijiLive/Pacific Media Watch): Fiji High Court Judge Justice Anthony Gates yesterday disallowed an application by the Director of Public Prosecutions to bar the media from covering a misprision of treason trial of Fijian nationalist politician Viliame Savu, the Daily Post reports.

Justice Gates said in his ruling that State Prosecutor Bhupendra Solanki had asked the court to give directions to the media by a written submission.

Justice Gates said the written submission enclosed what the prosecution say are "offending news reports" by the media - in particular the Fiji Times, the Daily Post and Fiji Television.

The news reports concerned were based on a police statement which was given by Savu during a police interview on March 29, 2001 and was tendered as evidence in the misprision of treason trial.

Justice Gates said the account of the interview was read in court by Savu's investigating officer, Corporal Mesake Waqa and mentioned various names of people who according to Savu were part of a meeting prior to May 19, 2000.

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The participants were then told by businessman George Speight - the coup front man who is now serving a life jail sentence for treason - and his brother Jim that a coup would occur.

Justice Gates said two of the participants mentioned in Savu's interview statement were then MP Timoci Silatolu and journalist Josefa Nata who are at present being tried for treason in a separate case.


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PACIFIC MEDIA WATCH is an independent, non-profit, non-government organisation comprising journalists, lawyers, editors and other media workers, dedicated to examining issues of ethics, accountability, censorship, media freedom and media ownership in the Pacific region. Launched in October 1996, it has links with the Journalism Program at the University of the South Pacific, Bushfire Media based in Sydney, Journalism Studies at the University of PNG (UPNG), the Australian Centre for Independent Journalism (ACIJ), Auckland University of Technology in New Zealand, and Community Communications Online (c2o).

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