EMOTIONAL Fiji Times publisher and general manager Hank Arts believes the Fiji media should be encouraged to keep going forward and staying within the law.
He made the comments in the wake of High Court judge Justice Thushara Rajasinghe concurring with the unanimous not guilty opinion of the three assessors and acquitted him and two other senior offi cials of The Fiji Times, the company and a letter writer of sedition charges.
Emotions were high as the High Court judge delivered his judgment in a packed courtroom in the High Court in Suva yesterday afternoon. Justice Rajasinghe ruled that the prosecution failed to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the article published in the Nai Lalakai newspaper on April 27, 2016 was seditious and that it had the tendency to promote feelings of ill will and hostility among Muslims and non-Muslims.
Mr Arts and Fiji Times Ltd were acquitted of publishing a seditious article in the Nai Lalakai newspaper.
The verdict yesterday actually ends something that began about two years ago. It hasn’t been an easy journey for us. But we have been buoyed by the fact that we had support from around the country.
Today we take this opportunity to raise this and acknowledge our supporters.
I take this opportunity to say thank you to those who actually made the effort to contact us via our social media platform, via email and text messages from around the country and around the world.
I take this opportunity to say thank you to all those who called the newsroom to wish us well. I also take this opportunity to say thank you to those who walked up to me to wish us well.
I may not know you, but your well wishes inspired The Fiji Times team.
You motivated us and gave us a reason to keep our heads up. You kept us focused and gave us a reason to stand strong.
Today I take this opportunity to say thank you to all those who believed in us and continue to do so.
It has definitely been a humbling experience and one that will stand The Fiji Times in good stead.
Today we say thank you.
We will continue to endeavour to stay true to the ideals of good journalism.
We are not pro-government, and neither are we antigovernment.
We will endeavour to allow a platform that offers people, irrespective of their political leaning, an opportunity to voice their concerns.
Let’s shrug aside all imaginary demarcation lines for the betterment of our nation.