Arrested Fiji journalists released (Lead)

May 11th, 2009 - 1:06 pm ICT by IANS  

Wellington, May 11 (DPA) Two Fijian journalists were released Monday after being detained for two days for infringing media censorship imposed by the Pacific island country’s military rulers, a media report said.
Dionisia Turagabeci and Shelvin Chand, working for Fijilive news website, were arrested Saturday, apparently for violating media regulations barring reports that cast a negative light on the country’s military regime, Radio New Zealand International reported.

Strict censorship of all media outlets was imposed last month after the country’s judges were sacked, following a Court of Appeal ruling that the government of military strongman Voreqe Bainimarama, who took over in a coup in December 2006, was illegal.

A Fiji blog, Coupfourpointfive, said the journalists were arrested for Fijilive reports on the release from prison of members of the security forces who had been jailed for killing three civilians in 2007.

A soldier was convicted for murdering one of them, eight soldiers were convicted for killing another and three police officers were found guilty for killing the third at a police station. But all were jailed for manslaughter instead of murder.

Coupfourpointfive quoted sources as saying that police arrived at the Fijilive news website office in Suva a few hours after a story on their release appeared.

They ordered the story be pulled immediately and demanded to know who had written the article and authorised its positioning on the website.

Chand was the reporter on duty and Turagabeci the desk editor, the blog said.

There was no indication that they had been charged and Fijilive did not report their detention.

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