The Fiji Labour Party has crticised The Fiji Times for re-employing a reporter who had brought enormous disrepute to the paper and created national instability with her fabricated, distorted and sensationalized news reporting in 1999/2000.
“By re-employing this discredited reporter, The Fiji Times has clearly exposed its political agenda, and compromised its credibility’ said Lekh Ram Vayeshnoi, FLP’s assistant secretary general.
“It is well known that Margaret Wise was forced to leave The Fiji Times in disgrace. I am therefore very much surprised that the paper should now re-employ a person whose integrity and credibility as a reporter is seriously in question,” he said.
Her blatant political bias and misreporting associated with her very close liaison with a number of prominent politicians in the Opposition and extremist nationalist quarters at the time, has been the subject of severe criticism not only from the FLP, but academics, journalists and other independent observers in the immediate post 2000 coup period.
It is also well known that feature articles that were written by a certain bureaucrat were being run by The Fiji Times under the name of Margaret Wise. Staff in the Fiji Times newsroom as well senior management were well aware of this duplicity.
The Fiji Times reached a $25,000 out of court settlement with Prime Minister Mahendra Chaudhry regarding a number of defamatory articles it ran in 1999/2000 — several of them written by Margaret Wise.
“This is an issue that the Media industry in Fiji as well as the Media Council should take up seriously. The Fiji Times, as a member of the Media, should not be allowed to bring disrepute to the entire industry through such irresponsible and questionable behaviour,” Mr Vayeshnoi said.