Media Hurt Samoa and Fiji, Land Reform, People's Charter

(o) Barbara Dreaver and TVNZ found guilty of unbalanced reporting. Barbara Dreaver, who sent a number of misleading reports on Fiji until she was denied entry, has been found wanting for one of her reports on Samoa, and TVNZ that screened and added to her story suggesting Samoa was awash with drugs and guns, has been fined $5000 by the Broadcast Standard Authority, payable to the Samoa Government, with another $2000 payable to the Crown.

"In the Authority's view, the cumulative effect of such a dramatic introduction coupled with the information presented in the item was to create an impression for viewers that not only was the situation in Samoa extremely serious, but Government officials were complicit in the guns and drugs trade."

Two years ago the BSA ruled against Michael Field for misrepresentation.  It's always too late but thank goodness there is some check on sloppy and irresponsible journalism.

(o) Journalists need some knowledge of geography. Fiji is not a single island. Koro is not in northern Fiji. Most of the Fiji group (and 95% of its tourist areas) was unaffected by Hurricane Tomas. But this is not what many overseas readers and viewers have been told.  Josefa Tuamoto, the CEO of Tourism Fiji, says he's been fielding calls from travellers wanting to cancel bookings but there is no need. “Some of them, some of the Kiwis who were planning to travel in June are now considering cancelling. We are saying you don’t have to do that ... we are just trying to correct that perception in the market - that the whole of Fiji is devastated, which it’s not.” One wonders how many tourists were lost to the struggling Fiji. It would a take two minutes search of Google to have written a more accurate -- and less damaging -- account of the hurricane impact.  See on line papers for reports on individual islands and other stories. Fiji Times. Fiji Village. Fiji Live.

(o) The Fiji Times and ANZ Bank have sponsored a fund-raising campaign to assist those affected by the hurricane.

(+) Land reforms will soon be implemented in Fiji following the endorsement by the Cabinet. A formal committee has been set up headed by the Permanent Secretary in the Prime Minister's office, Pio Tikoduadua, to identify all land available for leasing. In particular land currently lying idle will be identified.

The committee, according to Cabinet will be tasked with the following:
  • Identify the terms and conditions that would be acceptable to both landowners and tenants including rental amounts
  • Identify the best legal model or process to be adopted to facilitate this new arrangement
  • Procure the services of consultants including land valuers from the private sector and/or academia
    Undertake an extensive public relations exercise on the proposed changes.
Land reforms is a major government initiative, essential to make make fuller use of productive land. Contrary to the scaremongering of government opponents, the reforms will not afffect exist landownership of State and Native land. They are intended to ensure a fairer return to the itaukei (indigenous) landowners and security and longevity of tenure to tenants.

(+) The People's Charter for Change, Peace and Progress is becoming better accepted by Fiji's people, according to National Peoples Charter Advisory Council (NPCAC) chairperson, Josefa Serulagilagi.The NPCAC plays a monitoring role in the implementation of the charter.

Serulagilagi, speaking of the task that lie ahead in rebuilding the nation, said the charter's impacts and benefits are filtering through to the grassroots people, but programmes designed to promote multiracialism remain a challenge.

The charter's objective is to rebuild Fiji into a non-racial, culturally vibrant and united, well-governed and truly democratic nation. When completed, it will be the foundation document that will set out commitments for change and reform, and the new constitution to be introduced by 2013 will be based on recommendations of the charter.


Facts are "sacred"? said…
Croz, you're right. Some journalists sure do need geography lessons. There's an Associated Press TV piece on Youtube on the cyclone devastation in "Tava-Nui". As in Taveuni. Woeful ignorance by a major global media outlet.
Dreadful Dreaver said…
Barbara Dreaver is a disgrace to the NZ media and the wonder is that coming from the Pacific herself has made no difference to her understanding of island affairs. But surely the real blame lies with TVNZ for continuing to employ her as Pacific correspondent when she's so demonstrably unsuitable for the job? Is this the best that the NZ media talent pool can throw up for such an important job? I see that rather than copping it sweet, TVNZ has gone on the offensive, saying they stand by their "respected" reporter and intend to appeal the Authority's ruling. What a joke. Never mind Samoa, Dreaver's reporting on Fiji has been woeful. She's consistently shown no grasp whatsoever of the complexities of the situation, choosing instead to see Fiji as a straight contest between the glory of democracy and the evil of dictatorship. Her Maori colleagues at TVNZ did a far better job of reporting the facts than she did. So why not make one of them Pacific correspondent? Instead, we're stuck with this mediocrity who, as the Authority has found, not only gets her facts wrong but whose presentation skills and dreadful voice leave me constantly lurching for the off button on my remote.
True friends said…
I hope people who think that closer links with China are the way to go take note of the Chinese donation to cyclone relief in Fiji. They've given $50,000 to the PM"s Disaster Relief Fund and $50,000 to the Fiji Red cross. Now they're US dollars so that's $191,864 at today's exchange rate. But it's still way short of the Australian and NZ contribution of one million dollars apiece plus aircraft and relief supplies. You'd think that if China was really serious about engaging Fiji, it might have done a lot better given its vast wealth. It's certainly times like this that you learn who your true friends really are.
Jambalaya said…
@true friends,

This flawed notion of friends and dollar index in aid is misleading. For starters, for all the neo-colonistic over-reaching by the Trans-Tasman bullies, $1 million is removed from their balance sheet of soft powered disaster aid.

Throw in Moti-gate, then there's a massive deficit in dollar-friend index.
Jumbalaya logic said…
Jambalaya, talk about looking gift horses in the mouth. Frankly, your attitude smacks of ingratitude. But what's worse is the hoary old line about neo-colonialism. Get a grip. If the rest of Fiji were to ever share your attitude, then they'd deserve nothing in the way of aid from the Aussies and Kiwis. Fortunately they don't and warmly appreciate the assistance, even the PM, who has more cause than you to be cynical.
True Brit said…
Notice that the British have given $298,000 to the Fiji Red Cross. A strange sum but perhaps the conversion from whatever they donated in pounds sterling. A great gesture by our former colonial masters, who still have warm feelings for Fiji 40 years after they left. Those feelings are reciprocated. God Save the Queen. Me bula sara ga na Ranadi!
Cut Barbie! said…
I see that TVNZ has announced tonight that five million dollars is to be slashed from its news budget, "affecting" 75 jobs. Let's hope one of them is the dreary Barbara Dreaver, the coconut scented hussy from Tarawa. But I wouldn't count on it. It's the competent but troublesome who are usually axed in these purges. And on that basis, we can expect to keep seeing the doyenne of Pacific journalism on our screens whether we like it or not. Is Dreaver Kiribati's most famous export? She's certainly its most notorious. Hopeless
Jon said…
Once again headlines have been read and debated upon and journalistic transgressions have been slated. However I believe the most important content in this post hasn’t been discussed – that being the stories contained in Fiji Times, Fiji Live et al about the damage sustained to houses in the Fiji group.

In the mid 80’s, after cyclones Eric and Nigel, Fiji’s National Building Code and the Fiji House Building Manual were drawn up in an attempt to mitigate the damage caused by future cyclones.

The Code and Manual are loosely based on the Australian and New Zealand building codes, including Australian wind and NZ seismic codes. Both are easy to read, liberally undispersed with sketches for easy understanding and, just as importantly, are cheap to buy.

The preamble to the House Building Manual notes “…we have tried to retain… the current local building practices. We have also tried to ensure that the use of the Manual does not contribute to any material increase in the cost of houses. Where there is marginal increase it will be substantially offset by an increase in the safety and durability of the house.”

However we still read stories such as “Only cyclone proof homes left standing on Cikobia” – 20 YEARS after the Code was introduced. The reason is simple – no government of the day has made it a requirement for the Code to be compulsory in Fijian villages. In fact in many acts relating to building, such as the Health Act and Environment Act, Fijian villages are specifically excluded.

If this government intends to make fuller use of productive land by way of its land reforms, one of the starting points will be to include all Fijian villages and squatter settlements in the legislation designed for everyone’s protection – Building Code, Health Act and Environment Act. District Officers should then be responsible for ensuring that all new buildings erected in villages are inspected to ensure compliance with the code

In this way villagers (as most of us in urban areas already are) can be spared the trauma of losing their homes and having to start from scratch, which just reinforces the cycle of poverty.
White Frangipani said…
After this Samoan saga I wonder if Barbara Dreaver will be welcome in Samoa again. A good journalist is one who is prepared to say, "I was wrong" and then put right the wrong. Not many of these journalists exist these days. Remember the latest TVNZ "Sunday" story on Fiji when Frank Bainimarama was interviewed. The TVNZ journalists in that story just had to bring up Barbara Dreaver's expulsion from Fiji and loyally defended their colleague. “Sunday” interview with Frank Bainimarama:
Part 1:

Part 2:

Balanced and fair reporting is becoming an extinct skill in the media world. Barbara Dreaver can't afford to get offside with any more Pacific countries.
Lower order building standards said…
At last, something sensible from Jon. He's castigating the "lower orders" in Fiji for not embracing Australian and NZ building standards. Quite right. Had those backward Lauans got rid of their bures and timber shacks and built double brick California bungalows, none of this would have happened.
Jon said…
Dear Lower order

If you want to continue playing the match, you really should try to stop drooling – it’s waterlogged the pitch
President Bainimarama said…
More on the international media front. The global broadcaster Al Jazeera has a Fiji cyclone story on Youtube that refers to Frank Bainimarama as Fiji's president. Ratu Epeli will be pleased. When you see things like this about things you know, you do wonder how much more of the media's output is just plain wrong. Never mind that old dictum about not believing everything you read. You can't believe everything you watch or hear either.

(Croz, this was inadvertently posted on the previous discussion board but refers to this one. My apologies )
Ratu Sai said…
Wednesday March 17th 2010 the mendacious and sometimes vacuous coup 4.5 web-logs reported the deaths of six individuals whereas the main stream media the world over had reported just one, however as of March the 19th 2010 another death had being reported which brought the tally to two.

Given the current situation on the ground in Fiji these figures are not conclusive and could rise.

Likewise with the once respected and credible Michael Fields, Barbara Dreamer and the unbalanced lot at Coup 4.5, they seem to share a commonality in that they have the propensity to misrepresent facts.

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