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Media Freedom Fiji style.

Fiji’s media harangued over article


Last updated 15:33 18/10/2013


Frank Bainimarama

LEADER: Fiji coup leader Frank Bainimarama.
Fiji’s tightly controlled news media is under the gun again with the country’s military-backed regime demanding to know why a story about media freedom was published at all.

A confidential “not for publication” memo leaked to Fairfax Media reveals that yesterday editors received a demand that they “give an explanation before close of business today” on why they published the story.

The story cited the Pacific Freedom Forum as saying new restrictions on the media were a retrograde step.

Coup leader Frank Bainimarama imposed censorship over the media after his 2006 democracy-ending coup.

Censorship was lifted last year but has been replaced by the Media Industry Development Authority (Mida) and a high degree of self-censorship.

Mida chairman Ashwin Raj this month announced a tightening of rules for foreign journalists, warning that all freelancers, correspondents and public relation officers must now be registered.

He also objected to foreign aid donors entering Fiji and training locals.

“I find that deeply problematic. I cannot possibly imagine our journalists being able to do something like that in some other country,” Raj said.

Monica Miller, of American Samoa, the co-chairwoman of Pacific Freedom Forum, said there was no need for another layer of scrutiny in an “already tightly regulated media environment”.

Her statement appeared in Suva media outlets.

This drew an oddly worded warning from Mida director Matai Akauola, who said the forum story had “blatantly breached the code of ethics”.

”Media outlets, especially the editors, must explain the reasons for using the PFF article.

“It does not mean that when you get both sides, you run the story. You have to check whether it’s accurate.”

Mida was also checking other reports. A military decree empowered Mida to monitor compliance with the ethical standards of the print and broadcast media, Akauola said.

Raj also issued a public statement saying Mida will not tolerate groups like the forum.

“This is the type of things that Mida will deal with – journalists masquerading as correspondent for foreign entities and many other things and want to remain a journalist in Fiji.”

The confidential and public statements suggest Fiji is further tightening media controls ahead of promised democracy-restoring elections.

Since 2006 Fiji has banned several foreign reporters, including journalists from Fairfax Media, Television New Zealand and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

– © Fairfax NZ News

33 thoughts on “Media Freedom Fiji style.

  1. And the gentleman from the EU – the deputy director-general gentleman – said he saw Fiji making “solid progress towards democracy”!
    Has he seen leopards changing their spots as well?
    A dictator will always have the instincts and impulses of a – – – – – – – -?
    Frank Bainimarma is a dictator
    He will ALWAYS behave like a dictator.
    ANY one who thinks otherwise is an arsehole!

  2. Dictators DON’T believe in Media Freedom.
    Bainimarma is a dictator.
    Bainimarama does NOT believe in Media Freedom.
    Now hands up who does not understand this?

  3. AUST, NZ, UK, USA, EU, UN and foreign countries you are reminded by these continuing suppression by the illegal Govt of the press that we in Fiji are far from moving towards democracy.

    The illegal junta is wanting to legitimize its illegal grip on power in Fiji and the Fijians will continue to be murdered, tortured, supressed and their rights trampled even after the so called election.


  4. Fiji under the human rights junta is farked. And I will ensure what is little is left will also be totally rooted under the control of the facists.

  5. Comments from europeans and your nearby neighbors of the lighter complexion don’t give a rats a$$ about you fijians. They are only looking and hoping for stability so they can continue to exploit the ignorant people of your country. In fact, if the dictator is able to stay in power then ‘doing business’ there stays simple; pay off the right people and get whatever you want. Right now it is the uncertainty of the future that is slowing investments and down. And in tourism industry, the shear ignorance greed and stupidity that will ultimately sink fiji into the water. Apparently the policies and attitude of the government has filtered down to the people and now your government is truly representative of the people.

    The only ones that have anything to lose is ‘the people’ and if their voice is not heard because nobody on the street has balls enough, then you guarantee the great leader will remain in power. This is the way it works. Why should the media stick their necks out when their is no visible support from the public they serve?

    At least your opressors are represented across the span of race and religion in fiji, but somebody needs to be keeping a list of these ‘friends and supporters of hitler’ so they can be dealt with accordingly if and when fijians take their minds off games that are used to distract them.

    You blokes are on your own. Stand the fuch up!

  6. That’s the way Arsewin & Madrai. Keep persecuting the profession and the poor media personnel as your bosses the BaiYum’s bid you to, and the evidence becomes all too clear that free & fair elections next year are but a fairytale.

    The PFF is out of your reach and voters will select where they source their news no matter how tightly you try and control news content. All you will succeed in doing is expose your lack of character and naked ambition over the will of the people.

  7. We should be all grateful that the endless bickering and depressing negativism of our media has come to an end under the new rules introduced by our government. A vast majority of the population appreciates the positive outlook that our media now have, standing united behind a government of the people by the people. We surely do not need foreign agents such as Mr Field coming to Fiji to incite disaffection with our leaders. The bitterness and negativism of blogs like this just shows what happens when the government is not able to provide guidance to those who express their views. There is a real risk that misrepresentation and lies told by hostile media will confuse the electorate which in turn could prevent the glorious election victory that our AG and our PM deserve.

  8. @ John F

    You have the third world mentality: the people are too stupid to form their own views. Guess what? Fiji is becoming more and more educated. More young people are excelling at school and university. They want to see Fiji rise to her potential. That is through their own motivation and natural talents, not because your leader gave them a few extra pencils. Families are now sacrificing more than ever for their children in a hope that they will reach their potential.

    As for your kind, you are happy for the poor to stay poor and do what they are told. No freedoms, no positive debate, no exchange of ideas and ideologies. In other democracies the media may go over the top. The people are not stupid and they can vote leaders in or out.

    I am not convinced that you actually have the views you express. You may well be anti-gov trying to stir the pot. That is most likely because not even a docile moron (including the pro-gov people) would agree with your views. They support the IG because of the financial benefit they are receiving. Even they know this illegal government is out of control.

    Media will always be guilty of misinterpretation. It sells papers. BUT people are not as stupid as you may think. I don not agree with what YOU say. But I appreciate this free blog where you can express your views. As they say, opinions are like assholes. We all have them.

  9. The name “No Immunity” adequately expresses your position: What you are after is some ill conceived “justice” brought upon the leaders that have guided Fiji out of the dark ages of corruption and racism. You probably also claim that our government has violated the human rights of opponents and common criminals by subjecting them to badly necessary re-education. You probably believe the stories that our leaders draw excessive salaries payed through some sinister outfits owned by the AG’s family. And you are delusional to think that so called democratic governments would listen to what their population has to say. Take New Zealand for example: The opposition has forced a referendum on the sale of state owned assets. This will take place in the next couple of months. Prime Minister Key was quick to dismiss the referendum as a formality, indicating that he would ignore the results. This is a politician which rules with a hair thin margin and the support of some wacko individuals in parliament. It is about time that you come back down to earth and face the realities as they are.

  10. @ No Imunity

    “” Fiji is becoming more and more educated. More young people are excelling at school and university. They want to see Fiji rise to her potential. “”

    It’s a pity they have left it so late, the opportunities were available many years ago but nobody taught the mass that to progress you have to make the effort.

  11. Oh look, British PM urges an investigation On Guardian newspaper.


    Snowden leaks: David Cameron urges committee to investigate Guardian

    PM says leaks have damaged national security and suggests MPs could ‘examine issue and make further recommendations’

    by Patrick Wintour, political editor

    The Guardian.com
    Wednesday 16 October 2013 13.10 BST

    David Cameron has encouraged a Commons select committee to investigate whether the Guardian has broken the law or damaged national security by publishing secrets leaked by the National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden.

    He made his proposal in response to a question from former defence secretary Liam Fox, saying the Guardian had been guilty of double standards for exposing the scandal of phone hacking by newspapers and yet had gone on to publish secrets from the NSA taken by Snowden.

    Speaking at prime minister’s questions on Wednesday, Cameron said: “The plain fact is that what has happened has damaged national security and in many ways the Guardian themselves admitted that when they agreed, when asked politely by my national security adviser and cabinet secretary to destroy the files they had, they went ahead and destroyed those files.

    “So they know that what they’re dealing with is dangerous for national security. I think it’s up to select committees in this house if they want to examine this issue and make further recommendations.”

    The prime minister’s spokesman refused to elaborate on what Cameron meant by the issue of the Guardian disclosures being examined by a select committee.

    There are as many as four committees that might take up David Cameron’s suggestion, including the culture select committee, the home affairs select committee, the defence select committee and the intelligence and security select committee.

    The ISC largely meets in private but is due soon to meet the leaders of the spy agencies in public and it is certain that the issues raised by the Guardian, including the impact on national security, will be discussed.

    Cameron did not follow calls by the backbench Tory MP Julian Smith for the police to prosecute.

    Fox had asked the prime minister whether “we can have a full and transparent assessment about whether the Guardian involvement in the Snowden affair had damaged Britain’s national security”.

    He said it was bizarre of the Guardian to claim that leaving Britain’s secrets and security personnel more vulnerable was opening a debate about the accountability of the security services.

  12. @ John Fart

    The likes of John Fart never ceases to amaze me. Indeed limited knowledge is dangerous when one thinks he/she knows more than he really does.

    The referendum in NZ is a political right that is being exercised. Similarly the response from Key is appropriate given the government is not bound by the result. It is merely an exercise to gauge public views on any given subject.

    The referendum was possible (forced) only after they have acquired the required number of signatures. Once that is achieved the government has no choice but to conduct the referendum as required by law.

    What has that got to do with the freedom of the press?

  13. Hey Ratu, relax. I am sure we can find some common ground here. It is an old truism that every people has the government they deserve. When the people want change they get it. Some make incredible sacrifices like the opposition in Libya and Egypt did recently and does now in Syria. In Fiji the population is quite obviously supportive of the regime and the few web warriors that spill their mean spirits on blogs are a handful of losers who want their own country to suffer. Press freedom is always relative and from where I stand I can see why our leaders have decided to curb anti-government propaganda peddled by the likes of Field and Hunter. Lets work together to move the country forward, lets confirm our AG and our PM in office through elections and milk and honey will from the donor community will flow again. We will receive so much aid and so much foreign investments that poverty will be eradicated in no time and we all can live a good life without too much hard work.

  14. @ John F

    Are you being serious? I really hope you are speaking tongue in cheek. If not, are you being paid to blog? Are you a representative of Qorvis, who make no secret of their prolific use of social networks and blog sites.

    You mock NZ’s democracy.
    You support a military dictatorship.
    You wrongly refer to corruption as a thing of the past and fail to look at the nepotistic state of affairs at present.
    You say the current regime is not racist.
    You clearly miss the point. We don’t care if democratically elected governments ignore the will of the people BECAUSE THEY CAN BE VOTED OUT.

    What part of Military dictatorship, suppression of basic liberties and an absence of the rule of law do you not understand? Continue to make your inane comments. If you feel the need to kiss the bullies arse that is a matter for you, but spare us your nonsense. Give some proof of your mad claims. Refute the blog claims with proof. You clearly, like your beloved dictator, believe Fijians are gullible fools. I disagree.

  15. John F

    You got amazing footwork and should be considered on the wing for the Flying Fijian end of year tour.

    They might even consider taking you along as one of the two running on the sideline with a couple of small flags in their hands.

  16. Going by above posts, I think that John F has farted all over Sai so much that Sai’s thinking/posting has got even more twisted.

  17. Sai

    Are you now confirming that John’s fart has stimulated your thinking and you’re now recommending it to anyone who needs your kind of twisted thinking ???

    Thank you but NO thank you.

  18. journalists masquerading as correspondent for foreign entities

    What a joke. The dictator and it’s apologists love to paint the truth as “foreign interference” that supposedly ‘harms Fiji’.

    The only thing that is harming Fiji are the corrupt parasites pretending to be our leaders.

  19. Well said Radiolucas. JF is obviously reflecting the breath-taking delusion and desperation in the regime ranks!
    I quote – “In Fiji the population is quite obviously supportive of the regime and the few web warriors that spill their mean spirit on blogs are a handful of losers who want their own country to suffer.”
    JF is cushioning the view that the crooks are on the right path but unfortunately its far from the truth! Moreover the Fiji population is not as stupid as the regime might think and various past politicians can testify to that. Its not the web warriors alone but the prayer warriors and freedom and democracy advocates that are all spilling their hearts out for the injustice and suffering caused by this regime! Now this is a force that should not be taken lightly. The dubious public relation schemes and international diplomacy tempering is also not showing results the regime would like. It is revealing, as we blog, the simple truth that rebuilding Fiji under this treasonous lot wont work! The regime and its Bainikaiyum plotted successor following a self-styled dictated election will still have a legitimacy problem. No matter the investment put into legitimizing rule, it wont really wash with people of Fiji and the international community. This will only cause more uncertainty to political progress and business investment. Thanks to the way this government of crooks was founded! The burden of proving legitimacy hangs on the neck of the regime and its Bainikaiyum successor and that has been made more difficult with the decrees to deter opposition and restrict the media! Its as simple as this and is turning out to be the thorn in the whole scheme!

    JF dreams on by saying: “Lets get together to move the country forward, lets confirm our AG and PM in office through elections and milk and honey will from the donor community flow again. We will receive so much foreign investments that the poverty will be eradicated in no time and we can all live a good life without too much hard work.”
    This sounds more like an invitation from a desperate thief enticing people to support the gang leaders and indulge in more crime! I would not be as stupid as JF to believe that Fiji people are stupid enough to participate and indulge in the acts and benefits of crime forever. They would be far from wanting that. They are just gaming the dictators enticements now knowing that it keeps everyday life ticking. But one day the ideal and more preferred situation of freedom, justice, and equality under the law will be sweeter than the handouts given to them and that is when they will stand up to reclaim all the dignity they have lost under the Bainikaiyum leadership. The basic truth about the remaking of Fiji under the current self-styled rule is that it is outright fraud! How can a country and its people really move forward on a platform of treason and daylight robbery? What will the future hold with justice for this scandalous crime pending? Is it moral to wave aside the unlawful and unjust acts of the treasonous few who have caused so much harm to the nation? Is it politically and developmentally beneficial to the majority that Fiji’s future be held hostage to a self-styled constitution and democracy that only protects the criminals and treasonous few? These are just few of the questions that highlight the flawed and scandalous journey that Bainimarama and his cohorts have forced Fiji into.

    For most, the Fiji that majority of people desire and deserve is far from the Fiji that JF is peddling here. The reality is that Fiji is presently in a quagmire that is clearly fraudulent and illegal! This is what web warriors, democracy advocates, freedom fighters, prayer warriors, the majority of Fiji and international observers see. Unfortunately it is the problem that Bai and cohorts choose not to appreciate.

  20. @ kainoqu

    Well said. Frank is trying to play an end game here. He knows that his corrupt mismanagement is slowly killing the nation and he has been looking for a safe “out” for at least the past 5 years.

    My bet is that he won’t run for an election that he cannot hope to win. Everyone knows he is a murderer, coward, thief and liar.

    He would be lucky to get one vote at all. So his plan is to get himself into a safe and protected position where he has no accountability – political, public or otherwise.

    Hence his plan to be RFMF leader for life – from there he can sit with his bottle of black label and use the army to threaten any politicians, lawmakers, media or protesters with another coup if they try to ask questions about his criminal actions.

    To bad he seems to have missed the example of Rabuka or Mara. He has left his run too late now. Perhaps what might also happen is that he will use Aiyaz as a scapegoat: Aiyaz made me do it!

    Maybe that is why Aiyaz seems so unhappy at the moment…

  21. hey you rubbish fala from that rubbish university with the rubbish vc come here and respond to the intelligent criticism being made against you and your bogus media monitoring boci

  22. @ Radiolucas

    “Maybe that is why Aiyaz seems so unhappy at the moment…”

    So damn what? Do you really care if they turn on each other as they eventually do? After all its the nature of the animal (devouring tiger) the one-day-rich schemers are happily free-riding on and getting over-compensated for it.

  23. @ Radiolucas

    So they shall. For as they sow, so shall they shall reap.

    What we choose determines who we become.

    That even in their current distasteful state of affairs, they still have a “choice”. They could walk away from it all and gain “freedom” in its truest and authentic sense of the word.

    Or choose to continue with the status quo – enslaved by their ill-gotten wealth gained from their criminal and unlawful conduct in usurping the power that belongs to the people.

    Sadly for them, ignorance is no longer excuse, not in this day and age, and certainly not after 3 coups!

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