Khaiyum-Lal Debate, Media Decree, NZBSA, Hurricane Relief Update, Censorship

Debate on Abrogation of Constitution one year on. Radio Australia held a debate on the Abrogation chaired by presenter Bruce Hill. Those speaking against the Abrogation were: Russell Hunter, the deported former editor of the Fiji Sun; Ian Lloyd, one of the three Australian judges who found the President's ruling on the legality of the Bainimarama Coup was illegal; ANU's Prof Brij Lal (photo, right); and Fiji Law Society President Dorsami Naidu. Fiji Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum (photo, left) spoke in favour of the Abrogation.  This four against one debate may be heard by clicking the Windows Media hyperlink (once this  main link is accessed). You may also read a one against one mini-debate between Brij and Aiyaz.  Both "debates" are recommended.   

Media Codes of Standards, Ethnics and Advertising. The draft Media Industry Development Decree will establish a media code of standards and ethics  and establish an independent media tribunal which will hear complaints against media organisations and individuals. Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, based on a Singapore-style Media Industry Development Authority, said the draft decree “seeks to create professionalism and accountability in the media sector by setting up transparent processes, adopting practices from other jurisdictions”. The emphasis will be on fair, accurate and responsible reporting, a media code of standards including a code of ethics and practice, and a general code of ethics for advertisements including advertising to children. It will also establish a television programme classification code and will have provisions pertaining to cross-media ownership.

State seeks open talks on media decree but only gives participants 2:50 hours before the first meeting to read the draft. Head of the Justice Ministry, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, who thought this was time enough, said "We want to have a meaningful consultative process. And those who want to be part of it need to come with an open mind."He said the advertisement of the meetingt stated what would happen on the day and the bulk of the decree.

Fiji Times managing director Anne Fussell expressed disappointment in the allocation. "Nothing would seem to be lost, and indeed much would be gained, by allowing a reasonable amount of time for careful scrutiny and thus informed feedback" she said."This decree will not only impact on the quality of information every person in Fiji can access on which to make decisions that affect their lives, it could also impact on potential investment and on revenue streams which flow on to the Fiji community through areas like income tax and VAT."

The consultations will be held in Suva on Wednesday; Labasa on Thursday and Lautoka on Saturday.

TVNZ has flouted the Broadcasting Standards Authority decision regarding Barbara Dreaver's  report on guns and drugs in Samoa, which raises the question: are broadcast media less ethical than print media? One month after the decision, TVNZ continued to  display online the offending article, but they did not display the apology related to those articles in the BSA report. TVNZ thus continued to publish articles in error and against publishing convention.

Government ministries and departments breach rules on vehicles, an internal audit has revealed. Anomalies in tender procedures were also disclosed.

Food security and Hurricane Tomas. Details of damage and costs by location.

President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau  concerned at hurricane relief delay. The government vessel, the MV Iloilovatu has been sent to the Northern Division with extra relief supplies and to assist with the President's present tour. The French  Navy vessel Le VendÚmiaire equipped with one helicopter will spend five days ending Wednesday in the Lau Group with relief supplies hurricane victims. Fourteen Government people including a doctor and translators are on board the warship.

DISMAC says some people still confused about hurricane food relief. DISMAC will deliver the food rations this week, once boats are available. Food distribution  takes a long time due to the geographical locations of the needy areas.

Daylight saving. Fiji and NZ are now on the same time, and two hours ahead of Australia EST.

Censorship The Easter Bunnies were at work again over Easter Weekend blocking all blogsites.   They seem not to know that Fiji Today  uses a satellite phone and proxy address in Auckland and therefore cannot be blocked.  All other blogs can also  evade the blocks by using proxy servers, as previously explained to readers of this blog.

Nonetheless, the block had some effect.  I had the smallest number of visitors for a long time, and should have spent more time with my family instead of trying to explain Fiji government's  aims, actions and inanities to readers.


Kumala Vula said…
The whole crux of the matter is that Voreqe who muddles through life is so blinded with greed and managed to turn everything into chaos.Nothing good has come out of his leadership and worst of all he has managed to alienate the majority of the citizens of Fiji.

The best solution is for Voreqe to resign and allow the people to restore democracy through the Ballot Boxes and elect a new Prime Minister.Since he stole power with the use of guns to frighten the people the measure of progress is minimal and people have faced difficulties in their everyday existence.

The National Debt is mounting and Voreqe is asking the Chinese Government for Funds to prop his failed Military Junta with the hope of appeasing the people of Fiji.As Foreign Funds dry up Voreqe will blame the people for their lack of support and being the biggest coward he will consider himself blameless.

There is only one solution,it may be ugly and beneath contempt and for the sake of our Chiefs and Elders and the future of the youth and children of the Republic of Fiji..Civil Disobedience and Revolt are the last weapons to be used to bring back FREEDOM AND PEOPLE POWER.
Me Damu said…
Who is trying to fool who...the road map to insanity is now wide open. The illegal regime is inviting everyone to come and join their mad orgy for the destruction of the country!

They need more people to share their quilt, and pry them loose from the burden of killing the people's dreams. It is an excercise in stupidity and vanity.

Where do we go from here Frank...this road leads to nowhere...but despair!
Collapsing Fiji economy said…
The Fijian economy is on the verge of collapse. The 2006 coup has had a disastrous impact, but most serious are the continuing foolish comments from the illegal AG khaiyum - every time he opens his mouth, in his futile attempts to intimidate, he just drops foreign investment back another notch.
The unelected AG has no international credibility or respect. Who would invest in a country being run by gun wielding terrorists?
The usual stench said…
Isa, the SDL lackeys are sure out in force again, with their extravagant hyperbole and liberal use of capital letters and exclamation marks. Have you noticed how the White Kumala and his sidekick, Me Damu, don't have much of an intellectual repertoire beyond bludgeoning "Voreqe" in absurdly hysterical terms? The lines are so hackneyed and repetitious that the SDL must be issuing song books to its supporters so they can all parrot the same tuneless dirge. These guys are a couple of deadbeats blocking the alley ways of cyberspace. Clear orf. Lako yani. Jaldi!
Interesting times said…
Croz, you've obviously missed the extraordinary attack the AG made on the Fiji Times and Anne Fussell at his news conference today. It won't surprise me in the least if the deep unattractive Fussell soon joins the list of FT publishers taken from the palatial corporate pile in Tamavua and muscled onto FJ 911. The AG accused her and the FT of everything short of invading Poland.
You can hear the actuality on Fiji Village if you have a subscription but the text should eventually wind up on the usual websites.
Bound to be Fusselled said…
Anne Fussell is a damned fool to raise to the prospect of the media decree having an adverse effect on foreign investment and the government's revenues.

How this might happen she didn't say. But why stray outside her legitimate area of concern ( media freedom ) and wave such a crude stick at such a delicate time?

Fussell's reckless comments have given the regime an even bigger stick to use against her and I'll be surprised if she doesn't get whacked.

Even more surprising was that her comments got past the resident censor at the FT. Obviously someone too dumb to realise the import of what was being said. You can bet that they'll be given a big kick up the arse given the AG's fury with Fussell.
Bad times said…
I'm afraid the regime is right. The Fiji Times has been totally negative right from the start and shows no sign of changing its attitude. I'm not saying it doesn't have the right to hold a particular view and I don't like the way its opinion columns have been censored. But it's the way they highlight some stories and ignore others that gets me. A lot of political stuff that should be reported doesn't make the Fiji Times even though it's in the Sun or the Post. You've got to suspect that this is because Netani Rika and Anne Fussell are running a particular line. I hear Frank B has been telling people that there'd be no censorship or emergency regulatons at all if it wasn't for the behaviour of the Fiji Times. If that's true, it's not exactly acting in the national interest itself. Why should our freedoms be curtailed because of the irresponsible reporting of one media outlet? Croz, perhaps someone from the Fiji Times could use your site to answer this point.
Bewilded and confused lakhan said…
Relax girl. Stop jumping at shadows. Next you will tell us the SDL has infiltrated the Commonwealth, the EU, and everyone else increasing sanctions on the illegal regime!!
You have lost the commonwealth Games (and the sugar subsidies) - build a bridge and move on - stop being a vicitim!!
Instead of the Commonwealth Games you could all have cassava patch running - at least that is one sport you are good at!!!
Invictus said…
Tuesday Dec 5th 2006 it was widely reported by various news organisations Qarase’s postulation for military intervention by the Australians.

According to John Howard and his foreign Minister Qarase had called three times for such request which was summarily declined.

John Howard’s words: “The possibility of Australian and Fijian troops firing on each other in the streets of Suva was not a prospect that I for a moment thought desirable.”

A claim later denied by Qarase.

The question is who was the prevaricator?
The Fourth Estate said…
The remarks attributed to Fussell in the FT report seem perfectly reasonable. Most similar acts of parliament run to over a hundred pages and if the government wants reasoned argument, not sound bites, from interested parties about the decree it would’ve been more astute to have allowed a longer time for the various media to examine it.

As far as her opinion on investment goes, she doesn’t mention any ‘negative’ impact, merely that the decree ‘will’ impact on the quality of information and ‘could’ impact on potential investment.

Bound to be Fusselled writes “Anne Fussell is a damned fool to raise to the prospect of the media decree having an adverse effect on foreign investment and the government's revenues. How this might happen she didn't say.”

I’m not surprised, since she didn’t say anything about ‘adverse’ effect.

It’s fair to criticise FT when it puts one eyed slants on articles, but when outside writers display equal bias against the FT, their arguments are weakened.
4th estate fantasies said…
Come on, Fourth Estate, what on earth are you on about? You're suggesting Anne Fussell was implying a positive effect on the economy from the media decree? Get real.

In fact the reverse is true. It's the negative stance of the Fiji Times that has contributed to negative perceptions of the country abroad and has arguably had a negative impact on investment and government revenues. That's why Aiyaz is apoplectic.

Fussell's comments are not only disingenuous but mischievous. All along, she's aligned herself with the regime's opponents, like Imrana Jalal, and makes plain at every turn her distaste for Bainimarama and his government. She's done nothing to hide this at social events in Suva. And given the strength of the Coconut Radio, she can hardly be surprised that the regime has been onto her case for a long time.

Like Interesting Times, I expect to see her escorted onto FJ 911. The regime didn't give a toss about offending Australia, New Zealand and the entire international community. So if you think it gives a toss about offending the FT's parent, Rupert Murdoch and his News Limited lackeys in Sydney, you're deluding yourself.
Scarecrow said…
The overwrought attack by government on the Fiji Times reeks of hypocrisy in that it’s full of the inaccuracies for which it has condemned the paper in the past. The AG is quoted as saying that the Times is the purveyor of negativity as far as Fiji has been concerned at least for the past three years. Firstly, the Times has been negative about the people forming the IG, not Fiji as a whole. Secondly, since censorship in 2009, the Times hasn’t been negative about the IG – it just ignores it. So, ‘the past 3 years’ is not accurate.

Then there’s the AG’s attempt to link the Times’ apparent ‘refusal to recognise the government, doesn’t call the PM the PM and doesn’t recognise other members of government’ etc, with a concern about the economy. Firstly the Times has often referred to Bainimarama as the PM and it also refers to Sayed Khaiyum as the head of the justice ministry in the very report in which he criticises it for not recognising other members of the government. Secondly the AG is an educated man and should know better than to indulge in ‘straw man’ arguments by linking the above (false) accusation with the Times’ concern about the economy. The editor’s concern about the impact the decree would have on the economy was stated in a neutral, not a negative, way. The eventual passing of the media decree is bound to have an effect on the economy in both direct and indirect ways.

Whether these effects are positive, negative, or a mixture of both depends on the way the decree is worded and, more importantly, the way it is interpreted by the media, the government and the judiciary.

Hardly anyone who’s read the biased reporting that’s occurred in the past in the Times, Sun, Fiji One et all would decry the need for a proper act governing the media. Every professional body in Fiji is governed by an Act of Parliament which sets down registration requirements and gives a Code of Professional Practice and Ethical Conduct. Accountants, architects, engineers, medical doctors, etc. So why should the media be any different?

However the half truths, innuendo and blatant untruths contained in Sayed Khaiyum’s outburst leave me wondering not so much what the Times’ agenda is but what his, and by extension his government’s, agenda is with both this attack and the decree itself.
Time's run out said…
If the Fiji Times was a better, more credible, paper, then it might deserve more sympathy. Unfortunately, many of readers are no longer prepared to back it. Now, Anne Fussell and Netani Rika are going to reap what they've sown, Singapore style licensing to eradicate the biased, undergraduate drivel that passes for news and comment each day. Pay peanuts and you get monkeys, goes the old saying. The Fiji Times has made so much profit out of Fiji over the years that it's a disgrace what they serve up to us each day. One or two good pieces now and again don't excuse a general standard way below other Murdoch papers in even the most backward parts of Australia.
Russell up another Fussell said…
Fantasies – I didn’t suggest Fussell was implying positive or negative effects on the economy. I was simply restating what the report wording noted. Her comments were neither disingenuous nor mischievous, they were completely neutral if read by someone who’s not biased.

You say she’s done nothing to hide her distaste for the IG at social events in Suva. Fair enough – however that’s in a social context. Judges, lawyers, editors and other ‘opinion makers’ are all allowed to have personal opinions, so long as they don’t let those blind them to carrying out their professional duties with impartiality. Once again – there’s nothing in the article that shows Fussell has been anything other than be impartial, whatever her personal opinions are.

Your final comment about deluding myself? No delusions here. I’ve no doubt that the IG would toss her onto a plane if it suited their purposes to. Peter Lomas too, if he didn’t toe the IG party line. Do I care about Rupert Murdoch’s lackeys? Not one jot. What I do care about is accurate, unbiased reporting and commentary – something which you, for one, haven’t shown.
Times past said…
Well isn't that the problem, Russell Up Another Fussell? That we haven't had accurate, unbiased reporting and commentary from the Fiji Times? Never mind what anyone says in the guise of opinion in these columns. And, yes, I'm with you in not giving a toss what Anne Fussell says at parties in Suva. But the overriding issue is that the Fiji Times deliberately and willfully avoids covering legitimate news because of a policy it's taken at editorial and, presumably, board level.

Whether or not it's for political or commercial reasons, or a principled stand for journalistic freedom, isn't the point. Fiji citizens are routinely being denied information they need to know by the oldest and (once ) most respected newspaper in the country. Now, the Fiji Times can hardly complain that both its readers and the regime wonder how on earth that can be regarded as a legitimate stance.

What concerns me beyond the present standoff is that when historians go to the Fiji Times in years ahead for a record of what was happening in the country during one of its most turbulent phases, there'll be nothing there. All so Netani Rika can be feted at regional talkfests as a journalistic hero and Anne Fussell can tell tales of principled derring do to her fellow soaks at News Limited.

I can't even see the commercial reason for it because all the present stance has done has been to send readers over to the Fiji Sun. At least they cover the happenings we all need to know, even if Peter Lomas and his gang are clearly unapologetic supporters of the IG.
khaiyum must go said…
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
The paper itself is history said…
Times past, Netani Rika said some time ago he had 2500 stories the censors wouldn't pass that he'd eventually publish when the restrictions are lifted. I presume this number has climbed even higher in the months since. Maybe he's planning big commemorative issues down the track for the historical record. Unfortunately the stories will still be badly written and naive, just like everything in the Fiji Times nowadays.
SDL thug alert said…
Oh, here we go, the assassins from Solivakasama straying from the pig pen. Time for the AG to be "eliminated" eh? Why don't you just do us all a favour and drop dead yourselves. You got us into this mess in the first place and you're the reason Aiyaz is where he is. So don't complain and don't advocate violence. You're the one who should be in Iran.
Give the dog a bone said…
To Times Up and Times Past - I agree with your thought that historians in future will be taken aback by FT’s ‘principled’ stance to not report any of the past year’s political shenanigans because of censorship. The commercial ramifications of this editorial decision remain unclear, since I don’t know of any recent surveys on readership or advertising revenue but I imagine that you’re probably also right when you say that the Sun will have benefited from FT’s peculiar decision.

Your first point though ‘that we haven't had accurate, unbiased reporting and commentary from the Fiji Times’ goes to the heart of what I was writing about. The FT has, finally, written about the IG’s actions and done so in a completely neutral manner (no matter what our own bias may tell us what Fussell might ‘really’ mean).

In so doing, they have still been castigated by posters here and, more importantly, by the AG for being biased, disingenuous, mischievous, having a hidden agenda etc etc. I’m not saying give credit where credit’s due, since a newspaper should always report in an unbiased manner, but I am saying that it makes no sense to rebuke the paper when it finally does display the ethics that we’ve all been calling for.

By all means keep the pressure on FT to continue performing as a responsible paper should. But let’s not forget the Sun, where the only thing that stands between the paper butt kissing and brown nosing the IG is the editor’s depth perception.
Regime PR blunders said…
Croz is correct. The increasing PR blunders of the military regime, particularly the military appointed AG khaiyum, are having a very detrimental negative effect on the international perception of the junta.
They were starting to get some support for the media decreee until they announced there would only be 150 minutes for consultation???? Absurd????
Then the military appointed AG took the bait. His level of immaturity and feeble attempts at imtimidation (he couldn't intimidate a tadpole) on the Fiji Times - has now drawn international attention to his attempts to railroad through the media decree. He has also drawn international attention to the potential serious impact of the decree on long term investment in Fiji!!!
As the International Union of Journalists has already said today most democratic countries would set aside six to eight weeks for people to study the draft and make submissions.
All the good work undone in minutes because the military appointed AG couldn't keep his mouth shut!!!! Even the commandant dictator has learnt to do that!!!
Corruption Fighter said…
The claim that the Fiji Times is scaring off investors is outrageous and shows why Aiyaz needs media censorship. If the Fiji Times reports negative comments on the state of our economy is the Fiji Times responsible for the facts?

The claim that the Fiji Times is to blame for media censorship is one only a dictator could make. What about professor Wadan Narsey, he is also censored just as heavily as the Fiji Times.

What is scaring off investors is a government that has no regard for the law. Who can trust a government that's a law unto itself?
Cara Wai said…
We love the Fiji Times because it reports the truth. We don't call Voreqe Prime Minster but the DICTATOR, sorry!

The truth hurts doesn't it. Grow up and get use to it while you await your time in a prison cell. Mark my word, your time will come and you will no longer able to hide under Voreqe's Navy uniform.
Wai ni draunikau said…
Which polluted river did this creature crawl out of?
promote cassava patch running said…
@wai ni draunikau
It is called the ganges!
Anonymous said…
It appears as if this site is treated as anti Fijian as it is on the blacklist provided by the
military to govinment departments.

This is why you had a quiet Easter as you were blocked along with every other bad site.

March Hare

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