Wednesday, October 6, 2010

[pima.nius] FIJI: New Fiji Times publisher pledges to 'rebuild relationship' with regime

12:37 PM |

Title – 7061 FIJI: New Fiji Times publisher pledges to 'rebuild relationship' with regime
Date – 6 October 2010
Byline – Stanley Simpson
Origin – Pacific Media Watch
Source – Fiji Broadcasting Corporation, 06/10/10
Copyright – FBC
Status – Unabridged
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By Stanley Simpson

SUVA (Fiji Broadcasting Corporation/Pacific Media Watch): The Fiji Times will look to rebuild its relationship with the Fiji government, says new publisher Dallas Swinstead.

Swinstead told FBC News the onus is on the Times to prove to the people and the government that it is a newspaper with a good strong heart and a love for Fiji.

The experienced newspaper man says the Fiji Times is a quality product that the company needs to keep alive and develop.

"Yes, we are changing direction. Having watched News Ltd perish in this country, there's no sense in committing suicide, even with a local-owned replacement. There is no doubt that The Fiji Times cannot be antagonistic to the government, What on earth does it prove?," he says.

"But we will ask questions in a fair and balanced way because we will be helping to bring the people to the government."

Swinstead met the Permanent Secretary for Information Sharon Smith-Johns last week and says they largely saw eye to eye on issues.

"The meeting went well. I presented my credentials, which if I may say so, are pretty good; I said my piece and the permanent secretary said hers. I certainly understood that she was delivering the government's line and in my short time here I have already chosen to support that line. Why, because some most respected people here have spoken to me about infrastructure finally taking shape; about one nation one people, about equality from coast to coast.

"If you like you can be cynical about it but from where I stand – and I first made up my mind about this in 1979 as I left after four years in the chair at the Times - the two main communities have to learn to live together equally, with equal opportunity and equal hard work."

Swinstead says former editor Netani Rika "sacrificed his job" for the Fiji Times and described him as an "intelligent and thoughtful" person.

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