Afrique Ameriques Europe Moyen-Orient Internet Nations unies
Fiji 26 February 2008

Fiji Sun editor expelled and banned from reentering country

Reporters Without Borders firmly condemns the military-led provisional government’s arrest and expulsion today of Russell Hunter, the publisher of the Fiji Sun daily newspaper. An Australian citizen, Hunter has been banned from returning to Fiji.

“Hunter’s expulsion is unacceptable and contrary to all of the Fiji government’s international undertakings,” the press freedom organisation said. “This arbitrary decision deprives the Fiji Sun of its publisher and managing editor and sends a disturbing signal to other Fijian journalists thinking of publishing information that could upset the authorities. We call on the prime minister, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, to reverse this decision and to allow Hunter to resume working in Fiji”.

Reporters Without Borders added: “The good intentions towards the privately-owned media professed by Bainimarama and other senior officials have lost all credibility after Hunter’s expulsion”.

Aged 59 and the former editor of the Fiji Times daily, Hunter was arrested yesterday evening at his home in the capital, Suva, by immigration officials, who escorted him to Nadi international airport (250 km west of the capital) and put him on a flight to Sydney this morning.

The government said in a statement today that Hunter had violated immigration laws by “conducting himself in a manner prejudicial to the peace, defence, public safety, public order, security and stability of the sovereign state of the Fiji Islands”.

On his arrival in Sydney, Hunter said he was expelled because of stories in Fiji Sun alleging that finance minister Mahendra Chaudhry (a former prime minister) was involved in tax evasion. “We were expecting it”, Hunter said.

Both the Australian and New Zealand government’s have condemned the expulsion of Hunter, who had a work permit that was valid until August 2009. The Fijian immigration department has given his wife, Martha Waradin, three weeks to leave the country together with their 13-year-old daughter.

In this country
20 May - Fiji
Open letter from Reporters Without Borders to Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama
12 May - Fiji
Government arrests two journalists in another “warning shot” for press freedom
14 April - Fiji
Prior censorship and expulsion of foreign journalists deal “mortal blow” to press freedom
27 January - Fiji
Newspaper publisher’s expulsion called a “provocation” to Pacific Islands Forum
17 July - Fiji
Threat to press freedom from proposed new media law

in the annual report
Fiji - Annual report 2008
Fiji - Annual report 2007

4 May 2009 - Nepal
Mission report : A call to end violence and impunity
2 April 2009 - Pakistan
Fact-finding visit by Reporters Without Borders to Swat “valley of fear”
16 March 2009 - Afghanistan
Report of fact-finding mission : Press freedom in free-fall in run-up to presidential election

Asia archives
2009 archives
2008 archives
2007 archives
2006 archives
2005 archives
2004 archives
2003 archives
2002 archives
2001 archives
2000 archives

Asia press releases
3 June - North Korea
Pyongyang judges asked to be lenient with two American journalists
3 June - Afghanistan
US forces arrest a journalist in Khost
3 June - China
“Tank Man” photo displayed outside Chinese embassy in Paris on eve of Tiananmen Square massacre
2 June - China
Blocking of Twitter, YouTube, Flickr and Blogger deprives Chinese of Web 2.0
2 June - Sri Lanka
Press freedom activist badly beaten in Colombo, hospitalised