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A-G accuses newspaper of sensationalising story

Avneel Chand
Saturday, October 07, 2017

THE Fiji Times editor-in-chief Fred Wesley says it is unfortunate that the Attorney-General has accused the newspaper of attempts at sensationalism regarding a story that was never published.

He made the comments after Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum stated at a press conference on Thursday that The Fiji Times published a story that day regarding a student who was forced to walk from Nabua to his Tacirua home because he did not have an eTransport card.

The child's grandmother had visited The Fiji Times and relayed the experience after which the newspaper had sought comments from Mr Sayed-Khaiyum.

Staff of the Attorney-General's office said they would respond via email and requested for the details of the case with the intent of resolving the issue. But this did not eventuate and the story was not published.

However, at the press conference, Mr Sayed-Khaiyum stated The Fiji Times published the story and accused the journalist of sensationalising the issue by only doing one half of the story.

His comments were reported in the other newspaper yesterday.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said information regarding the bus company responsible should have been made available to his office.

"I understand The Fiji Times ran some story about one student having to walk a distance. The team from this office has tried to get in touch with that Fiji Times journalist to identify who that student was, which bus did not pick him up but we are yet to be furnished with those details.

"So if Fiji Times has that information, give it to us, don't just publish a story without verifying it and if you indeed have that information we requested it, we urge you to give us that information."

Wesley said The Fiji Times had followed proper procedures and had not printed the story in the interests of clarifying all the issues.

"The child's grandmother, Miriam Teburie, had visited The Fiji Times to air her frustrations on the situation with the request that they be published," he said.

"We take pride in the fact that each person who visits The Fiji Times with valid concerns on any issue is given a fair chance and a medium to speak out."

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