FIJI NEWS

Police and Maritime Safety refute Fiji Times reporting

Anger over damage to country, women put in fear By JYOTI PRATIBHA The Police and Maritime Safety Authority yesterday both refuted claims published in the Fiji Times over the past
07 Oct 2012 10:52

Anger over damage to country, women put in fear

By JYOTI PRATIBHA

The Police and Maritime Safety Authority yesterday both refuted claims published in the Fiji Times over the past two days claiming human trafficking on yachts.
Maritime Safety chief executive officer Neale Slack said the reports published by Fiji Times were not true and the reporter involved had admitted this.
Police spokeswoman Ana Naisoro said despite Fiji Times claims there were no reports lodged with them of an 18-year-old girl found on a yacht off Ra and no girl in their custody.
The article created unnecessary panic amongst the local community, especially women in the area, she said. She assured people there was no reason for concern.
Port Denarau Marina managing director Nigel Skeggs – a leader of efforts to build the visiting yacht and tourism industry – said:
“My understanding is that this story has been fabricated by the Times and printed despite advice. If this is the case, such actions are irresponsible and counterproductive to the development of Fiji’s maritime and general tourism sectors.
“Our sector spends thousands of dollars and time promoting our beautiful country to the world of cruising sailors and to have a major national paper compromise this sector is disappointing to say the least.
“They need to ask themselves; whose side are they on and what is to gained by such actions just to sell a few papers? The cost to the global image of Fiji’s maritime tourism sector far supersedes such a selfish short term gain. I am really disappointed right now.”
In a statement released by the Maritime Safety Authority yesterday, Mr Slack said he and manager standards and compliance, John Tunidau had met with Fiji Times reporter Nanise Loanakadavu. They had brought to her attention the errors in the article.
The statement said: “Ms Loanakadavu confirmed that inaccurate and unauthorised information was published in the Fiji Times article.
“Ms Loanakadavu confirmed that Fiji Times editors had also incorrectly referenced her article to the incident of the Rakiraki girls who disappeared in 2005.
“Ms Loanakadavu apologised for inaccurate and unauthorised quoting of the MSAF officer.
“Ms Loanakadavu has confirmed that the Fiji Times will retract the aforementioned article in its entirety and has apologised for any damage caused to the MSAF, the maritime industry and the State.”
Fiji Times editor-in-chief Fred Wesley said he would not be commenting on the matter until after talking to his deputy, Ilaitia Turagabeci.
“We are in the process of trying to ascertain the scenario surrounding the matter,” Mr Wesley said.
Speaking for the Police, Ms Naisoro  said: “At no point in time did we receive a report of an 18-year-old that was found on a yacht or was in our custody.
“The reports are nothing more than assumptions and speculation and it is worrying to note that this was not taken into account although this was highlighted to the reporter concerned.
“This was once again highlighted by the Deputy Divisional Commander Western when contacted by the reporter. However, it was once again not taken into account which questions the credibility of the article which keeps highlighting the alleged plight of an 18 year old.”




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