8 October 1997


"The Fiji Times" publisher and editor appear before Senate privileges committee

Incident details

Alan Robinson, Samisoni Kakaivalu


legal action

(PINA/IFEX) - The publisher and the editor of "The Fiji Times"
appeared before the Fiji Senate privileges committee on 8 October
1997. Publisher Alan Robinson and editor Samisoni Kakaivalu were
called to answer allegations the newspaper breached parliamentary
privilege by allegedly misrepresenting the Senate's proceedings.

**Updates IFEX alert dated 6 October 1997; for background to
previous harassment of the newspaper, see IFEX alerts dated 27
February 1997, 6 December and 29 November 1996**

After their appearance, the Senate privileges committee resolved
that one of its members, Senator Afzal Khan, and the lawyer for
"The Fiji Times", Richard Naidu, would meet to discuss further
the concerns raised in the Senate.

Background Information

On 3 October, the Senate decided to refer "The Fiji Times" to the
privileges committee over reports and an editorial in the
newspaper saying that the Senate sitting on 29 September lasted
not more than twenty minutes. "The Fiji Times" editorial,
headlined "Practise What You Preach", questioned the cost to
taxpayers of the twenty-minute sitting and said it was hard to
take seriously calls by senators for others to cut costs and
improve efficiency. Under Fiji's Parliamentary Privileges Act,
the privileges committee could recommend that the Senate jail for
up to two years those found to have breached parliamentary
privilege (see IFEX alert).


Pacific Islands News Association
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Private Mail Bag, Suva
Fiji Islands
pina (@) connect.com.fj
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