Tuesday, February 8, 2011

[pima.nius] FIJI: Publisher speaks out on blogs and The Fiji Times

9:34 AM |


Title – 7251 FIJI: Publisher speaks out on blogs and The Fiji Times
Date – 8 February 2011
Byline – None
Origin – Pacific Media Watch
Source – Café Pacific, 8/2/11
Copyright – CP
Status – Unabridged
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PUBLISHER SPEAKS OUT ON BLOGS AND THE FIJI TIMES
http://cafepacific.blogspot.com/2011/02/fiji-blogs-and-fiji-times.html

AUCKLAND (Café Pacific/Pacific Media Watch): An open letter on Café Pacific from outgoing Fiji Times publisher Dallas Swinstead explains why he left the Pacific country's leading newspaper after rescuing it for the Motibhai Group following the buyout of News Ltd's Fiji subsidiary last year. The Australian-based Murdoch subsidiary was forced to divest 90 percent of its interest to local ownership under the terms of the controversial Fiji Media Industry Development Decree in September. But News Ltd elected to sell up completely:

People keep telling me I'm getting the occasional mention on blogs (which I don't read). Anyway, it would be a good idea to share with anyone who is interested why I left The Fiji Times.

1. Motibhai, the new local owners of the paper, could not organise insurance nor medical evacuation for me, a requirement of our contract.

2. This became an issue for both them and I and they agreed to pay out the remainder of the work permit, four or five weeks.

3. I am tremendously proud, in fact exhilarated, by what I achieved with the full-blooded co-operation of some 160 The Fiji Times employees, as they embraced the job of resuscitating the newspaper the government intended to close.

4. The newspaper published its editorial charter on October 9 in which we stated that we supported the Prime Minister's dreams of One Nation One People. We made it clear we would not be kissing arses but nor would we be instinctively kicking them. Like every decent paper in the world, we have kept that promise.

5. The government continues to subsidise the opposition newspaper, the Fiji Sun, with about 3000 pages of advertising a year. In return it publishes verbatim, mostly, all government releases. It is a shameless, even dangerous, publication.

6. Depending on what happens in Fiji in the weeks ahead, I may, or may not, fill in the details of that journey other than to take this opportunity to thank those dozens of the business, academic, legal, diplomatic and public servicemen and women who shared frank and revealing conversations with me about the way Fiji works.

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