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Fiji in turmoil, as censors sharpen knives -

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PETER CAVE: The ABC's Pacific correspondent Sean Dorney has been deported from Fiji as the Junta
led by military strongman Frank Bainimarama continues its crackdown on media coverage of what some
are already calling a new military coup.

Fiji's Court of Appeal ruled last week that the interim government, which seized power in 2006, was
unconstitutional but Commodore Bainimarama's ally President Josefa Iloilo simply abolished the
constitution and sacked the judges.

We hope to be speaking to Sean Dorney a little later in the program but Fijians are awaiting the
next step from the military government.

The abrogation of the constitution has left the legal system in turmoil and military officers are
now censoring the news.

A decree banning public gatherings almost saw a major regional meeting of the Methodist Church
stopped.

But the tourism industry is relieved that Australia is not threatening tighter sanctions.

Michael Vincent reports.

MICHAEL VINCENT: Once again, freedom of association and freedom of the press don't exist in Fiji.

It is a country under military rule and without a judiciary.

All judges were sacked on Friday when the President abrogated the constitution.

The president of the Law Society Dorsami Naidu and his colleagues turned up at the High Court this
morning, but couldn't get in.

When The World Today last spoke to Mr Naidu he was being 'interviewed' by police.

Intimidation has reached into newsrooms with military censors watching over journalists and banning
any stories which don't portray the military in a positive light.

But the military has failed to stop a meeting of the Methodist Church.

Heads of the church from around the Pacific had gathered in Suva for a conference - its first
topic: church-state relations.

President of Fiji's Methodist Church, Reverend Ame Tugaue, says he had to apply to police this
morning to allow the meeting to go ahead.

AME TUGAUE: Of course there was a decree not to hold a meeting. I called the police officer and
also the police commissioner not to disturb our meeting because we did not really know of the
decree so he said okay.

MICHAEL VINCENT: The Methodist Church is a pillar of Fiji society.

But it is not planning to confront the military directly.

Reverend Tugaue.

AME TUGAUE: Sometimes we have differences just like a father who has many sons or children,
sometimes they have differences. In Fiji it is like that.

MICHAEL VINCENT: Would the church in Fiji like to see democracy restored?

AME TUGAUE: Of course yes. The church is a democratic fellow, a relationship. The government too,
we want democracy to come in. But since now it is just the military is just dictating all things.
We don't want a head on.

MICHAEL VINCENT: You say you don't want a head on with the military?

AME TUGAUE: Head on minister fight against them.

MICHAEL VINCENT: You don't want that?

AME TUGAUE: No we do not want to be violence against them.

MICHAEL VINCENT: What about peaceful protests?

AME TUGAUE: Peaceful protests too, they don't like that. We'll just have to share to individual
people here our terms, what God wants. We just keep on praying to God because God has his own plan
too, for Fiji.

MICHAEL VINCENT: Tourism is a major part of the pacific nation's economy.

The Fiji Island's Hotel and Tourism Association is relieved that Australia and New Zealand aren't
considering imposing trade sanctions because both countries make up 60 per cent of its arrivals.

Association President Dixon Seeto.

DIXON SEETO: Your, I think, Foreign Minister Mr Smith said very clearly that nothing would be done
to harm Fiji tourism. That is, I think, a very encouraging statement and also statements about not
imposing trade sanctions and things like that, I think that is a very responsible attitude and
responsible statement because that will, if that happens, the common folk, the ordinary people will
suffer the most so I am happy that is being said.

I think there is also a signal from the New Zealand side to a similar extent but definitely Mr
Stephen Smith's comments were very, very encouraging and I certainly hope that that will be played
out in the future.

MICHAEL VINCENT: Does the Hotel and Tourism Association have any opinion on democracy?

DIXON SEETO: Ah... you know that is a very difficult question because we are basically a trade, a
trade and a commercial organisation and not a political party.

PETER CAVE: The Fiji Island's Hotel and Tourism Association President Dixon Seeto ending that
report from Michael Vincent.