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Govt Hits Out at International Media Reports

SUVA (Fiji, Media Watch) - report by Sofaia Koroitanoa: The Fiji government has hit out at international media reports on the death of a New Zealand woman in the country as inaccurate.

Permanent Secretary Sharon Smith-Johns said a recent report by New Zealand journalist Michael Field was "grossly inaccurate, mischievous, insensitive" and "deliberately misinforming" the public.

It has been highlighted by international media reports that the Fiji police force had concealed information and the Fiji media censored for the sake of the tourism industry.

Smith-Johns claimed it was clear that Field needed to check the reliability of his sources of information so he could stop publishing stories based on rumors and gossip which were written to undermine tourism, the Fiji police force and government.

Sharon Smith-Johns also refuted claims made by Field that media enquiries to the Fijian government had been ignored.

She said 33-year-old Cheslia Mary and her 61-year-old partner were on a cruise in the Yasawa group when she reportedly went missing.

Mary's body was found washed up on the beach on June 16 by two women from the Matacawalevu village.

Post mortem results confirmed drowning as the cause of death as she had been intoxicated on the night she disappeared, said Smith-Johns.

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