|Wesley with Dallas Winstead|
The Fiji Times has been found guilty of contempt of court by the regime biased judiciary and faces a $500,000 fine and its editor, Fred Wesley, being sent to jail for six months.
It was charged over a story that appeared in a New Zealand paper last year quoting the Auckland based Oceania Football Confederation secretary-general, Tai Nicholas.
|Wesley with Brian Flaherty|
The regime doesn't like the world to hear the truth, so used the media decree to go after the paper when it printed the story unchanged the next day.
|Mac Patel: jailed for a year.|
Once the country's best paper, the Fiji Times has been in the regime's firing line for some time. It was once owned by Rupert Murdoch but the media mogul sold out when the unelected government ruled news organisations had to be partly locally-owned.
Businessman Mac Patel bought the paper in 2010 but he was convicted of fraud soon and sentenced to jail. The paper has been in the hands of two publishers in the last two years, first Dallas Winstead then Brian Flaherty, with Fred Wesley appointed editor following Netani Rika's departure.
Earlier this year, it had to go offline for an estimated six weeks while it upgraded to meet the decree ruling that every story longer than 50 words have a byline, and pictures have credits and captions.
In court yesterday, the paper's lawyer, Jon Apted, argued the Nicholas story had been printed by mistake. He said Wesley was not present when the story was processes and the sports editor did not read the full article.
He said the deputy sports editor reviewed the story and made a wrong decision, unaware of the legal implications.
He maintained the penalties should be reasonable and no one should be sent to jail.
|Netani Rika: driven out|
Justice Callanchini has yet to deliver his judgement but it's clear the Times is the first to test the regime's unfair media decree regarding the imprisonment of a journalist.