FIJI SUN BOLTS OUT OF THE BLUE IN UNPROVOKED ATTACK ON VICTOR LAL, Fijileaks Editor-in-Chief:
'LABELLING VICTOR LAL AN IDIOT IS AN INSULT TO "IDIOTS"';
Fiji Sun, 14 October 2015, "UNWANTED BY IDIOTS"
"BLOGGING Resistance to Military Dictatorship and Holding Power to Account in Fiji: The Case Study of Fijileaks and other anti-military rule Fijian blogs as underground press, 2006 -2014"
Lal and Hunter win Fiji's
top journalism award
The Fiji Sun was the receiver of the Robert Keith-Reid Award for outstanding journalism
Below is the citation.
“This year’s Robert Keith-Reid Award for Outstanding Journalism is multi-faceted. It goes to two people who are not present tonight, and involves more than one publication.
The main recipients are Russell Hunter, former editor-in-chief and publisher of the Fiji Sun, and Victor Lal, the newspaper’s UK-based investigative reporter.
“To them and the Fiji Sun goes a joint and well-earned accolade. They receive this for reportage on highly controversial taxation, and other matters associated with overseas bank accounts of the former interim finance minister Mahendra Chaudhry.
Mr Hunter’s leadership and support for Mr Lal and the Sun’s editorial team provided the professional context for what is arguably the best example of investigative journalism in the history of the Fiji media.
“Mr Hunter knew that in the current climate he was putting himself at risk. But this did not deter him from pursuing the great cause of the public’s right to know,
“Along with Mr Lal, he acted in the best traditions of crusading journalism. Mr Hunter and his newspaper paid a heavy price when he was virtually abducted from his home at night and summarily deported.
“Victor Lal displayed extraordinary persistence and skill in developing and uncovering the story in a series of articles over several months. His was a fine example of research and analysis based on documentation made available to him by sources who were also prepared to take a risk. The topic was complex requiring meticulous attention to detail in accomplishing and presenting the facts.
“To the Fiji Times and its editor Netani Rika, the judges give a special commendation for first publication of the name of the person at the centre of the controversy. It was not long after that the Fiji Times’ publisher Evan Hannah was also deported.
“The judges wish to acknowledge the work of all journalists who have been threatened or intimidated during a perilous time for the media and yet have continued to stand by the principles of their craft in defending media freedom and the people’s right to be informed.”