Fiji’s military government expels three foreign journalists

April 14th, 2009 - 1:22 pm ICT by ANI  

London, Apr 14 (ANI): Fiji’s military government has expelled three foreign journalists and arrested a local reporter over their reporting of the deteriorating political situation in the island nation.

ABC correspondent Sean Dorney is expected to arrive in Sydney today after he was deported by FIJI Government officials unhappy with his coverage of recent political developments in the troubled nation.

Dorney spent the night under supervision by immigration officials in Nadi along with New Zealand journalist Sia Aston and cameraman Matt Smith, who are also understood to have been deported.

Fijian television reporter Edwin Nand was arrested overnight for giving footage to a New Zealand television network.

Dorney said officials initially told him that he was to be deported. “They called me to the Immigration Department … and informed me they were unhappy with my reporting, which was being broadcast on the local Fiji One network.”

He said he was allowed to return to his hotel to pack and was then asked if he would leave voluntarily.

“I said no. I’m here to report and my visa is still valid, and now I’m awaiting further information,” The Telegraph quoted him, as saying.

The move comes after President Ratu Josefa Iloilo abolished the constitution, sacked the judiciary and reinstalled Bainimarama as Prime Minister despite a court ruling that his administration, put in place during a bloodless coup in 2006, was unlawful.

A local Fiji One tv reporter, named by colleagues as Edwin Nand, was also taken into custody by security officials, reportedly for transmitting news material overseas, The Telegraph reported.

Regional powers Australia and New Zealand have labelled the Fiji regime a military dictatorship and warned the country would be expelled from the Commonwealth.

“We’ve got effectively a self-appointed dictator and a very unpredictable regime,” said Murray McCully, New Zealand Foreign Minister.

Australian Foreign Minister Stephen Smith said Bainimarama had turned Fiji into a military state by suspending freedom of speech and undermining the well being of its citizens. (ANI)

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