The December 7, 2006 front page
of the Fiji Times
|Owner||Fiji Times Limited|
|Founded||September 4, 1869|
The Fiji Times is owned by the Fiji Times Limited, which subsequently is owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. The Fiji Times Limited board is chaired by Ross McDonald (as of 1996), and includes Mahendra Motibhai Patel (appointed 1974). A third position on the board is held by Adi Davila Toganivalu, a businesswoman named on 7 January 2006 to replace Ratu Joni Madraiwiwi, a former High Court judge who resigned from the board upon becoming (in 2005) the Vice-President of Fiji. The Company Secretary is Umesh Prasad (since 2004). The former publisher Evan Hannah was forcibly removed from Fiji in 2008 as he was accused by the interim government of meddling in Fijian politics.
An online edition is published, featuring local news, sport and weather.
The Rabuka administration censored the Fiji Times for a while following the first military coup of 14 May 1987. In protest, the newspaper published an edition with large blank spaces, where articles censored by the military would have been placed.
The Fiji Times announced on 5 December 2006, in the wake of the overthrow of the civilian government by the military, that it was suspending publication rather than bow to government censorship. Military officers had visited the premises that evening to prohibit the publication of any "propaganda" in support of the deposed government of Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase. Their online edition would be continuing publication as normal, however. Just before midday on 6 December, the military granted permission for the Times to resume publication without censorship.
The Times reported on 9 December that two members of the public had been detained and questioned by the Military over letters they had written to the Times editor during the week, and were given a "verbal warning."
Nonetheless, from December 2006 to April 2009, the Times was able to continuously publish articles critical of the interim government. The latter voiced its displeasure, but did not impose censorship. Following the 2009 Fijian constitutional crisis, however, all Fiji's media were censored, including the Fiji Times. Censors are present in the paper's newsrooms. The newspaper's chief editor Netani Rika told Radio New Zealand International that "his journalists continue to cover every story in detail as if they were working in a democratic country without restrictions. And he says they challenge the censors by putting every possible news item before them." The website of the Fiji Times has also been censored since April 2009.
The Fiji Labour Party has been highly and consistently critical of the Fiji Times, accusing it of political bias. In July 2008, the Party published a report alleging Fiji Times had collaborated with others in a deliberate effort to unseat the 1999/2000 Labour-led government