Fiji 4 found not guilty of sedition in media freedom case

WELLINGTON, New Zealand — A judge in Fiji has found an opinion writer and three newspaper executives not guilty of sedition in a case that has major implications for press freedom in the South Pacific nation.

Judge Thushara Rajasinghe ruled Tuesday that prosecutors failed to prove an opinion piece had promoted feelings of ill will and hostility between Muslims and non-Muslims in Fiji. The piece ran in a small indigenous-language newspaper published by The Fiji Times.

The men were each facing up to seven years in prison if found guilty. The judge also found the Fiji Times company not guilty.

Many people consider The Fiji Times to be the last independent media voice in a country where many news outlets kowtow to the government.

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