Home » Uncategorized » Fiji’s media authority is going to set up a unit to monitor the way media outlets report on the election campaign.

Fiji’s media authority is going to set up a unit to monitor the way media outlets report on the election campaign.

Fiji media authority complains about ABC reporter

Updated 26 March 2014, 19:06 AEST

Fiji’s media authority is going to set up a unit to monitor the way media outlets report on the election campaign.

The chairman of the Media Industry Development Authority, Ashwin Raj, made the announcement at a press conference in Suva today. He says the unit will make sure that newspaper, radio stations and TV stations do not show bias in the way they report on politics.

Our reporter in Suva, Samisoni Pareti, says the press conference was called to explain MIDA’s complaint about reporting on Fiji by Australia’s ABC, but was also used to confirm journalists like Sean Dorney, Barbara Dreaver and Michael Field are still banned, and that MIDA is taking recommendation to the military backed regime that it consider enforcing one against ABC Correspondent Campbell Cooney.

Radio Australia’s Pacific Beat is also duty bound to declare that the ABC is its parent corporation.

Repeated efforts were made to contact Ashwin Raj for a response, but we did not receive any reply.

Presenter: Bruce Hill

Samisoni Pareti, Fiji based reporter

PARETI: The invitation to the local news media Bruce was to a press conference to clarify the MIDA – which is Media Industry Development Authority’s position with regard to they’re complaint against the ABC, and in particular, against ABC Pacific correspondent, Sean Dorney.

HILL: What was the subsistence of they’re complaint?

PARETI: They took offence to an interview that Sean Dorney did with you some weeks back in regards to the Pacific Island News Association’s Media Summit in Noumea, New Caledonia, and apparently Mr. Dorney made some remarks concerning the freeness of the media or otherwise in Fiji. So they took that up and they wrote I think a seven page long letter to the ABC complaining about Sean Dorney’s statements and a copy of that letter was released to the media today by Mr Ashwin Raj, who’s the Chairman of MIDA, as well as they also released a copy of ABC’s response to the complaint, whereby the ABC basically stated that they’re standing by Sean Dorney’s position and claims, and that if MIDA is still not happy with that position, then they are most welcome to submit their complaint to the Australian Communications and Media Authority.

HILL: Now the substance of what Sean Dorney said in the interview of Pacific Beat, I understand was a statement that he made that the media in Fiji were not completely free. This appears to be what the substance of their complaint, they didn’t like that and they said that simply wasn’t correct?

PARETI: That’s right and he went on to lecture the media at the start of the press conference, the MIDA Chair that is, about not only talking about free media, but there’s also an important component of that is that there also needs to be a fair media in Fiji and that he said is vitally important at least in Fiji because we’re getting into general elections that needs to take place before September and he went on to make announcement as to the formation of units like the Media Monitoring Unit and he said that this is going to be very useful on the weeks approaching the elections, because they’re going to monitor and measure how fair and how free the media in Fiji is, and particularly ensuring that there’s no bias being shown to one particular political party.

HILL: This Media Monitoring Unit, would that be a Quasi government organisations, would it be in the hands of the regime essentially?

PARETI: Chairman Raj stressed the independence of the Media Monitoring Unit. There will be about five people altogether in it. They need to have some experience in the media industry as that they don’t need to be attached currently to a media organisation or to any government agency.

He’s saying that they are going to be independent, but at the same time, he also agreed that the Media Monitoring Unit is going to act as the information collection house for MIDA, because MIDA will need to show some evidence and needs to measure any particular media organisations so-called bias for or against a particular political organisation as such.

HILL: And would there be some penalties for media organisations if according to this Media Monitoring Unit, they do show bias?

PARETI: He was specifically asked about that, but one I think will assume that the Media Monitoring Unit will work with MIDA and both organisations or units will work under the provisions of the Media Decree of 2010, which, of course, contains penalties like fines.

HILL: Now, I understand that Mr Raj also had concerns about the operations of foreign journalists in Fiji, foreign media training organisations and even local reporters in Fiji, such as yourself, who work for overseas media organisations?

PARETI: Yes, he took offence again to freelance journalists, he didn’t name any, but I’m one of them. He said, one, because they seem to think that they’re a law unto themselves, that they don’t need to register when they’re supposed to with MIDA and also that they can just come with false reporting and he cited a case with a recent dengue outbreak in Fiji and he also took offence to the fact that some freelance journalists seems to be working for several media agencies. I really don’t know who he meant, but I think we know who he’s referring to and there was no clarification on which provisions of the Media Decree that these so-called offences come under.

And he was also saying that foreign organisations like PACMAS that needs to do training for media organisations in of Fiji needs to register with them first, because only MIDA will know where the needs are and they need to come through the MIDA process or system. So that were some of the things that Chairman Raj was trying to stress in the media conference that he called in Suva today.

HILL: What was the response from media who were there, were there questions afterwards and what was the tone of the questioning of Mr Raj?

PARETI: Yes, there were a few questions, there were questions relating to the Media Monitoring Unit, the proposed Media Monitoring Unit, that they’re wanting to establish. There were a lot of questions from myself, particularly on the MIDA’s position with regard to ABC journalists, like Sean Dorney.

I think the PINA journalist asked him whether Sean Dorney is still being allowed into Fiji, and according to Chairman Raj, he said no. Also he didn’t ban Sean, but he supports the ban, likewise for Barbara Dreaver the TV New Zealand Pacific correspondent, the ban remains against her and I asked about Mike Fields, and he said the ban remains against him as well and he also confirmed that he’s making recommendations to the government about another ABC correspondent, Campbell Cooney, and I did question whether it’s kind of counter-productive in a way if you are trying to ban them and we’re trying to say that the media is free in Fiji. Why don’t let them all in, so they can see for themselves the true picture of the industry here. But he said no, he supports a ban that has been imposed against journalists like Sean Dorney.


19 thoughts on “Fiji’s media authority is going to set up a unit to monitor the way media outlets report on the election campaign.

  1. http://www.fijileaks.com

    TWO RULES: One for foreign journalists and another for regime lackey journalists in Fiji. MIDA chairman Raj says PACMACS must distance itself from ABC and Dorney; supports regime’s decision to ban Dorney!

    2008: PhDStudent ASHWIN RAJ “foul-mouthing” from Australian National University, Australia, the Bainimarama regime on media freedom in Fiji: “Every effort has been made [by Bainimarama] to ensure that media freedom is curtailed.”



  2. There we have it. A strong evidence to Aus, NZ, USA, UK, Commonwealth, UN, EU and GLOBALLY THAT THE UPCOMING Fiji ELECTION WILL NOT BE FREE.

    Muzzling the press and voice of journalists, Politicians, Political parties and the Public commenting on the illegal Govt and other parties and candidates and coming to conclusions publically (which is essential to public education and democratic elections ….expected and logical), are essential signs of freedom of expressions and human rights

    Fiji Media Authority, a Govt controlled apparatus to judge bias of publicity is dictatorial… Election campaign is about scrutinising the current Govt and other candidates very thoroughly and making judgements…which may mean either in favour or against current policies and performances are absolutely essential for free election.

    The FMA will always support Bainimarama and this illegal Govt so will want to control what is said about Bainimarama and the Govt. to promote support during elections.

    Appeal to NZ, AUST, USA, EU, UN to review their support for the current Govt as it is putting in place undemocratic untenable controls on coming policies and election processes. The people and media are being denied freedom of speech and expressions to favour the current illegal PM and Govt adversely supressing public education and free flow of essential information.

  3. Was Sean Dorney at PINA as a journalist or as a delegate? If as a delegates, what the fuck was he doing reporting about PINA? If as a journalist, what the fuck was he doing interfering with the PINA election? Does Sean apply this same tactic in Australia? Or is there one standard for Ausyralia and one for Fiji? Can Dorney’s champion Samisoni Pareti answer? When it comes to Fiji, ethics goes out the window, huh Sean? This is the fucking problem with journalists like Sean Dorney. he deserves the ban. And, why is Pareti reporting on his friend? Such appalling standards. No wonder Fiji government had to bring the media decree.

  4. Journalist ethics anymore? as above

    Your profuse swearing above puts people off reading your equally nonsense argument. S Dorney can be both a delegate and a journalist and he can write about whatever he wants as either…what stops him…and anyone from outside can write anybody attending the meeting in a paper…who cares and what logic are you standing on.

  5. Samisoni Pareti is a known sympathiser of Sean Dorney and Campbell Clooney, his ABC workmates, where his bread is buttered. He is a friend of Barbara Dreaver and Michael Field. At the MIDA conference Samisioni sounded more like he was campaigning for these four banned journalists rather than covering a news event like an objective journalist should. At times Samisoni sounded like the banned journalists’ lawyer. And this is supposed to be a senior journalist – supposedly one of Fiji’s finest. Samisoni needs to go back to school to learn about ethics and keeping emotions and arrogance in check at press conferences. Some of these journalists are too full of themselves. Just because they have packed some years behind them, they think they god’s gift to journalism. Only they are right. The overseas bunch and local journalists like samisoni are a clique, scratching each others back, reporting each other in favourable terms, cooing and singing each others’ praises, bringing each other into news stories, all the while preaching ethics – its enough to make one puke.

  6. Sean Dorney got into a row with Ashwin, Makareta and Matai at PINA . If you are a journalist covering PINA, stick to that role. Do not get into arguments with PINA delegates. It shows Dorney’s lack of professionalism. Or maybe he thinks he is a big shot from ABC and can get away with it. Especially when it comes to smaller pacific countries.

    Clearly, Dorney is too emotionally involved with events in Fiji and in PINA. This is common knowledge. So why did ABC send him in the first place? No wonder the Abbot government is calling for a big shake-up at ABC. People like Dorney who have been there for too long are getting quite arrogant. They think they can dictate to sovereign nations how to run their media. The cheek of it. How would Dorney like it if I as a journalist told him how Australia should run its national media? As if having to put up with arrogant australian prime ministers wasn’t enough, now we have to deal with pompous, self-absorbed journos.

    If ABC had the common sense to not send a prejudiced and involved journalist such as Dorney to cover PINA and Fiji, the Fiji government would not have had to ban Dorney. ABC really needs to get its act together. Do not send us any more Dorney’s please. We are tired of his theatrics. Dorney’s reports on Fiji/PINA are full of opinion. We want facts, not opinion. Dorney can’t deliver the facts. he is no longer credible to us. Please ABC, pretty please; we do not want to suffer Dorney any more.

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