Decision on Times case

THE Fiji Times looks forward to renewing its relationship with key statutory companies it had good business with in the past.

This follows the ruling by Justice Deepthi Amaratunga of the Civil High Court in Suva yesterday that Government statutory bodies can advertise with The Fiji Times.

“For The Fiji Times and the statutory bodies and Government enterprises, this is excellent news. The Fiji Times with its favourable circulation and its lower cost per thousand readers, that’s good news for all the advertisers. It has been a long time coming,” said The Fiji Times general manager/publisher Hank Arts.

The Fiji Times lawyer Jon Apted earlier submitted that there was confusion in the public and in the market about whether the decision to publish government advertisements exclusively in the Fiji Sun applied to statutory bodies and government companies.

Mr Apted said Fiji Times Ltd was told by representatives of government companies that they were bound by the decision to advertise exclusively in the Fiji Sun.

The court also heard that the company’s advertising revenue from these organisations dropped significantly to only $15,000 for the first six months of this year.

“A declaration that selection and award of tender to the interested party for government print media for fiscal year 2016-2017 is limited to government departments and ministries and it does not apply to advertisements and or notices of statutory corporations and limited liability companies owned or controlled by Government,” Justice Amaratunga said.

He has however refused to grant an application by The Fiji Times which sought to declare unlawful the decision by the Communications Ministry to select an approved print media company for government print advertising.

The Fiji Times had issued judicial review proceedings against the Government’s decision to advertise only in the Fiji Sun, saying that the move was in breach of the Government’s own procurement regulations.

Justice Amaratunga ruled that the orders sought by The Fiji Times were moot, superfluous and redundant.

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