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Fiji deports Australian publisher, citing 'threat to national security'

Fiji deports Australian publisher, citing 'threat to national security'

Fiji's military-led government deported the Australian publisher of a daily newspaper yesterday after declaring him a threat to national security, drawing accusations of a crack down on free speech.
Russell Hunter, publisher and managing director of The Sun, was taken from his home in the capital, Suva, on Monday night and escorted to Nadi International airport where he was deported to Australia yesterday morning, Defense and National Security Minister Ratu Epeli Ganilau said.
Hunter violated immigration laws because he "was conducting himself in a manner prejudicial to the peace, defense, public safety, public order, security and stability of the sovereign state of the Fiji Islands," Ganilau said.
Fiji Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama, the country's military commander who seized power in a coup in December 2006, said in a statement his government was committed to a free press but media freedoms must have limitations.
"This freedom must therefore be exercised carefully in ensuring that our citizens are informed in a balanced, accurate and truthful manner ... at all times," Bainimarama said.
He said some of The Sun's reporting "has been inciteful and destabilizing and therefore a threat to national security and stability."
It's the latest move against local media by Bainimarama's government.
Within days of seizing power it posted censors in newspaper offices, withdrawing them after a storm of public protest.
Senior officers also arrested the editor of the Fiji Daily Post newspaper and the news director of Fiji's state-owned TVOne television channel, taking them to the army's headquarters barracks where they were cautioned over editorial content.


Updated : 2020-12-02 03:21 GMT+08:00