Leading the way with space for political players
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Mahendra Chaudhry and Raman Pratap Singh know how to maximise a good opportunity when they see one. In the past two weeks, they have been provided platforms by this paper to outline the views of their parties ahead of the general elections. The same offer has been made to all four registered political parties to enhance free and open debate ahead of this year’s elections. Former Prime Minister Mr Chaudhry, of the Fiji Labour Party (FLP), and Mr Singh, of the National Federation Party (NFP), in their political opinion columns have seized the opportunity. They have questioned the Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama led-Government’s position on everything from electoral preparations to Fiji National Provident Fund (FNPF) pension cuts. The two other registered political parties, the Social Democratic Liberal Party (SODELPA) and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), are still trying to work out their own internal leadership issues. We hope they will soon be able to join the robust political debate fostered by this newspaper and already being used by Labour and the NFP. We have also published letters from Professor Wadan Narsey,Reverend Akuila Yabaki, Mick Beddoes and others regarded as critics of the Government. They have asked questions on issues such as financial transparency and project implementation. Our letters page proudly carries the headline: “A good newspaper is a nation talking to itself.” This is how it should be. It is part of a process that will culminate in our first truly democratic elections. No other news media organisations have so far matched our efforts to provide such a platform ahead of them. We are sure they will follow, For it underscores that there is media freedom in Fiji despite what some claim. Here at the Fiji Sun we intend to continue to lead the way, by providing the platform for constructive debate leading to these elections. And an informed citizenry. At the same time we certainly don’t apologise for highlighting the Bainimarama Government’s many achievements. Nor the considerable public support for the Prime Minister’s reforms and programme for building a better Fiji. We have come a long way on this journey. Credit should also be given where it is due.