This is after Fiji Sun lawyer Suruj Sharma challenged the ruling.
On February 9, Mr Raj reached a decision that a Fiji Sun “Person of the Year” article was antagonistic, “thoroughly yoked in the logic of race and bereft facts”. He also claimed that a Coconut Wireless column item was “defamatory”.
Mr Raj’s decision was widely distributed on Facebook and blogs and used by anti-Government elements to attack the Fiji Sun and its managing editor/news Jyoti Pratibha .
Mr Raj has now written: “Please note that I hereby retract my February 9, 2015 letter issued under the letterhead of the Media lndustry Development Authority on the ground that my decision as the chairman was ultra vires of any lawful authority, power or role of the Authority provided for under Part 9, sections 53 – 61 (inclusive) of the Media lndustry Development Decree 2010.
“Furthermore, I also retract my letter on the ground that my decision as the chairman was made unilaterally, without any consultation with the members of the authority contrary to section 5 of the decree. I failed to convene a meeting to discuss the issues raised in Mr Waqavonovono’s email complaint dated 28 December 2014 and the Sun (Fiji) News Limited’s letter dated January 19, 2015 in reply to the complaint.
“I concur with the opinion in your letter and reiterate that the authority has no powers to adjudicate on a complaint and must act with fairness and conform to the rules of natural justice. ln light of this, I sincerely apologise for this oversight and will ensure that such oversight is not repeated.”
Mr Raj added that the authority acknowledges receipt of Fiji Sun’s response to the complaint. “However, please note that the Authority could not fully comprehend the Response by Fiji Sun when set against the issues raised in the complaint,” he said.
“Given the above and in light of my retraction, Fiji Sun is invited to provide an additional detailed response to the said complaint and upon receipt of the same, the authority will determine what lawful actions are to be taken thereafter pursuant to section 60 of the Media lndustry Development Decree 2010.”
Fiji Sun Publisher/CEO Peter Lomas said the newspaper would discuss Mr Raj’s letter with Mr Sharma before deciding whether to take any further action. Feedback: firstname.lastname@example.org