New Zealand journalists arrested in Fiji after investigating ‘illegal’ Chinese resort development

Freesoul reportedly dug a channel into the reef, and has been charged with environmental destruction.

Three New Zealand journalists who were arrested on Wednesday and spent the night on the floor of a Fijian police station have received a personal apology from Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama.

Key points:

  • Chinese company Freesoul has been accused of damaging the environment while building a luxury island resort
  • Three New Zealand journalists were detained after being denied an interview with Freesoul’s director at its offices in Suva
  • Media advocates say the case shines a light on media censorship in Fiji and was a “clear overreaction”

The co-editor of the Newsroom website, Mark Jennings, was detained alongside investigations editor Melanie Reid and cameraman Hayden Aull after being denied an interview with the director of the Chinese company Freesoul Real Estate at its offices in the capital, Suva.

Fiji’s Government has accused Freesoul of damaging the environment and ignoring court orders in its development of a luxury resort on Mololo island.

The three journalists were investigating the allegations of extensive environmental damage on the island.

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