The Fiji Times

A-G attacks newspaper

Some opinions may differ, says editor


ATTORNEY-GENERAL Aiyaz SayedKhaiy­um has accused The Fiji Times of engineerin­g sensationa­lised headlines to create “disquiet among ordinary Fijians”.

He made the comment during a question-and-answer session at the Fiji Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s post 20202021 budget discussion in Suva yesterday.

“This is why I was really, the word is not distraught but disturbed, at the headline in yesterday’s (Thursday, July 23) Fiji Times saying, without any reference to Government, any questions to RBF (Reserve Bank of Fiji), saying some politician made a comment about $100 million debt servicing a month,” the A-G said.

“Again, there is no critical analysis done on that, no input sought from us, and no contextual­ising of the matter.

“If you take out the global bond repayment which used to be in excess of 6 per cent, we are now paying only one or two per cent on that because we’ve got refinanced by the ADB (Asian Developmen­t Bank) and the World Bank.

“Again, no analysis, it is far less than $100m.

“All of us are sitting here talking about the psychology of how we need to improve things, all businesses will be affected.

“So when you have this kind of negativity, unresearch­ed headlines being put in place, sensationa­lised.

“This is, I am telling you, engineered, engineered to create disquiet among ordinary Fijians.

“Engineered not to have the right intellectu­al input and the rationale for it.

“This is extremely annoying, annoying, not personally, annoying because we are very nationalis­tic about our country.”

The Fiji Times editor Fred Wesley said last night that Mr SayedKhaiy­um was free to respond to any story in the newspaper that he thought was wrong.

“Some opinions on the budget will differ from his,” he said.

“In this case these are the views of Professor Biman Prasad, who is an opposition Parliament­arian and economist.

“The Fiji Times provides a platform for all opinions.

“Our journalist­s frequently ask the minister for responses to criticism of the budget but he generally does not respond.

“The Fiji Times does not exist to create positive headlines for the Government. It exists to publish all views and to ensure there is balanced coverage of the news and balanced political debate.

“We invite Mr Sayed-Khaiyum to tell us what is wrong with what Professor Prasad said.”

 ?? Picture: FILE ?? Fred Wesley.
Picture: FILE Fred Wesley.

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