Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Murdoch to be Pushed out of Fiji


By MICHAEL FIELD - Stuff

7 April 2010


Fiji’s military plans to give itself powers that will allow it to force Rupert Murdoch's News Ltd out of the country.
Murdoch owns the country’s biggest and oldest daily, the Fiji Times.
But in a draft media decree released today it is clear that coup strongman Voreqe Bainimarama is seeking to take over the Fiji Times.
Since his coup in 2006 he has already imposed severe media censorship and has forced out the Times' earlier Australian publisher.
In the media decree it states that in every media organisation "all the directors … be citizens of Fiji permanently residing in Fiji".
It says up to 10 percent of the beneficial ownership in the media company can be owned by foreign persons.
Currently Murdoch's company wholly owns the Fiji Times.
The decree says "at least 90 percent of the beneficial ownership of any shares … must be owned by citizens of Fiji…."
It says an person who does not meet the requirements "must resign or divest themselves of any directorship or ownership within three months from the commencement of this decree".
The decree was only released today and the military have only allowed a single day of consultation for the media affected.
Fiji has two other dailies, the pro-military Fiji Sun which is locally owned and the Daily Post which is mostly owned by the country’s superannuation fund.
The Fiji Times and Murdoch have yet to react publicly to the decree.

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