WELLINGTON, New Zealand – An opinion writer and three newspaper executives in Fiji are awaiting a judge's verdict Friday on sedition charges in a case that has major implications for press freedom in the South Pacific nation.
Each of the accused faces up to seven years in prison if convicted and the Fiji Times company, which has also been charged, could face a large fine. Many people consider the Fiji Times to be the last independent media voice in a country where many news outlets kowtow to the government.
It's not the first time the newspaper company has been the target of questionable charges. Five years ago, the Fiji Times was fined $170,000 and the editor convicted after the newspaper reprinted a story in which a soccer official questioned Fiji's judicial system.