Pacific Media Watch

23 April 2018

FIJI: Islands Business director blasts police detention as 'intimidation'

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The Islands Business story in February that stirred a Fiji police crackdown. Image: Asia Pacific Report

SUVA (RNZ Pacific/Pacific Media Watch): The managing director of the Fiji magazine Islands Business believes a police case against him was designed purely to intimidate.

Samisoni Pareti was taken in by police in February, along with journalists Nanise Volau and Netani Rika, over an alleged breach of the Public Order Act, which guards against so-called malicious acts.

The arrests followed an article published during a lockout of workers at Nadi airport, which suggested that the magistrate who ruled in their favour had had his contract terminated.

It is understood the magistrate has since had his contract extended.

The public prosecutor last week decided to drop the case, saying the article did not constitute any offence and the police file lacked evidence.

Pareti said the charges should never have been laid.

"Really, this was a case of intimidation, that they want to send out a message - particularly to the media - that we don't condone bold reporting of what's happening in this country," he said.

"But since we were bold enough, or maybe silly enough, to continue to publish the story, they wanted to send out a message that that's not something they're going to entertain and encourage."

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