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Raj: Journalists Must Verify Information

Raj: Journalists Must Verify Information
MIDA’s chairman Ashwin Raj
February 13
12:33 2018


The Islands Business Magazine should have verified claims in a story that led police to question three of its staff, says Media Industry Development Authority chairman Ashwin Raj.

The magazine’s director Netani Rika, managing editor Samisoni Pareti and journalist Nanise Volau were all questioned by police on Sunday.

The questioning was over a report last Friday (February 9) claiming the contract of Magistrate Andrew See of the Employments Relations Tribunal had been terminated.

Magistrate See had ruled in favour of some Air Terminal Services workers embroiled in a standoff with ATS management in Nadi for more than a month.

“Journalists must take responsibility for the fact that when you publish material that impugns institutions and individuals and in this case, allegedly casting aspersions on the independence of the judiciary, there are serious consequences,” Mr Raj said.

“The arrest of journalists sadly attests to the need to have robust discussions about constitutionally guaranteed rights and freedoms, responsibilities that come with it and its impact on the freedom of expression landscape in Fiji.”

He also urged the “purveyors of the law” to display actions consistent with the principles of “democracy and human rights”.

He added: “We must endeavour to have a robust freedom of expression landscape in Fiji.

“For this to happen it is critical that everyone understands that in performing their respective duties of upholding institutions and individuals to account, they must exercise responsibility.”

Both Mr Rika and Mr Pareti released statements on their personal Facebook pages on Sunday night.

Mr Pareti said his and Ms Volau’s laptop and phone had been confiscated by police and that both were treated well by the officers.

The report on the magazine’s website claimed, citing a “tip-off”, that Magistrate See’s contract had been terminated.

Chief Justice Anthony Gates labelled the claim as “mischievous” and said Mr See’s contract was renewed last year.

Edited by Percy Kean


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