|Pacific Media Watch|
Australian publisher's deportation widely condemned
Title -- 5332 FIJI: Australian publisher's deportation widely condemned
Date -- 27 February 2008
Byline -- None
Origin -- Pacific Media Watch
Source -- Pacific Radio News/NiuFM 27/02/08
Copyright - PRN/NiuFM
Status -- Unabridged
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AUSTRALIAN PUBLISHER'S DEPORTATION WIDELY CONDEMNED
AUCKLAND (NiuFM Online/Pacific Media Watch): There's more support this morning for the Australian newspaper editor who was shuffled out of Fiji yesterday by the interim government.
Russell Hunter was the publisher of one of the papers that ran with stories alleging finance minister Mahendra Chaudhry was under tax investigation over offshore bank accounts involving close to two million Australian dollars.
The Fiji Media Council has joined the barrage of criticism against the interim government.
Chairman Daryl Tarte says there's been no explanation to justify Hunter's deportation.
A statement from interim Prime Minister Commodore Frank Bainimarama's office says Hunter was conducting himself in a manner prejudicial to the peace, defence, public safety, public order, security and stability of Fiji.
A former New Zealand diplomat says the latest actions of the Fijian government indicate the country is heading for anarchy.
Terence O'Brien, a former ambassador to the UN, says Fiji is on a slippery slope.
Prime Minister Helen Clark yesterday denounced Hunter's removal, saying it was a move that would cause international concern.
The opposition National Party is today backing the sentiment.
Foreign Affairs spokesman Murray McCully says Fiji is meant to be convincing the world it's moving towards democracy not away from it.
The Australian newspaper publisher sent packing by Fiji military has arrived in Australia safely.
Reporter Christine Gounder has more.
And the Kiwi journalist who was booted out of Fiji last year says it's been deja vu to hear of the deportation of Australian publisher Russell Hunter.
Fairfax journalist Mike Field travelled to coup-stricken nation in June to cover the fall out over Fiji's decision to expel NZ high commissioner Michael Green.
But he was detained on arrival and told he was blacklisted.
He was deported several hours later.
Field told Pacific Radio News this morning, he feels for Russell Hunter.
He says the deportation was over the top.
The director of the Pacific Media Centre at Auckland University of Technology, Associate Professor David Robie, says the media in Fiji should be commended because of the pressure they're working under.
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. It is now published by the Pacific Media Centre at New Zealand's AUT University. Launched in October 1996, it has links with the Journalism Programme at the University of the South Pacific, Journalism Studies at the University of PNG (UPNG) and the Australian Centre for Independent Journalism (ACIJ), Auckland University of Technology in New Zealand. The website is hosted by the Association of Progressive Communications (APC).
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