Fiji govt orders investigation into popularity poll

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Fiji’s interim government has lodged a complaint against the country’s free to air television broadcaster Fiji TV over a text-poll it ran for its 2011 Personality of the Year competition.

It follows Fiji TV’s decision to award the title to interim prime minister Frank Bainimarama, eight days after it originally said Consumer Council chief executive Premila Kumar had polled the most votes.

It has led to unsubstantiated reports on pro-democracy and anti-regime websites that the winning votes came from mobile phones within the prime minister’s office, and that those votes came in after it was informed the prime minister was trailing.

Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said the complaint has been lodged with the new Media Industry Development Authority, which became the body responsible for Fiji’s media after Public Emergency Regulations were lifted.

The Commerce Commission and Commissioner Mahendra Reddy will also be investigating.

Fiji TV says it is waiting for the results of the investigation.

But during its Friday night news bulletin it made it clear it stands by the final result.

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