(O+) Media Tussle, Some Recent Cabinet Decisions, Corruption, Volunteers


Fiji Times and AG Tussle before Media Decree consultation at two levels

Photo Fiji Times, (l-r) Anne Fussell, police spokesman Ema Mua and lawyer Richard Naidu 11 April 2009.

Yesterday's reported tussle between Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum and Fiji Times publisher and managing director Australian Anne Fussell prior to the Media Decree consultations should be read at two levels, for what was said and for what was inferred. The tussle was reported in full and uncensored by the Times.

Level one: Fussell thought more time was needed to study the decree draft before consultations commenced. Two and one-half hours is too short.  I agree. But why, in reporting the tussle, did the Times not include the AG's statement that last week's advertisement contained the bulk of the decree? Not quite the same things but participants will have had far longer than 2 1/2 hours to consider the main items.

Still on level one, I also agree with Fussell that her remarks on the economy were not explicitly positive or negative,  but why express this implied concern now when the whole anti-government stance of the Times since December 2006 has acted to deter investment. Sayed-Khaiyum is correct in saying "The Fiji Times is the purveyor of negativity as far as Fiji has been concerned at least for the past three years."

Level two reveals what they were really saying.

Sayed-Khaiyum: "This is the media organisation that does not recognise the government, that does not call the Prime Minister the Prime Minister, that does not recognize various other members of the government..."

Fussell: "The Fiji Times [is] 100 percent pro-Fiji and ... completely behind the economic and financial development of Fiji's people." She then went on to say her paper was "completely in favour of anything that allows the people of Fiji to have access to all the information they require to make decisions concerning their future".  [my emphasis. ]

This is a fair enough swipe at government censorship but it ignores the fact that what it published before censorship was imposed was decidedly anti-government, and what it has published since has deliberately, in protest, made almost no mention of anything the government has been doing.  In other words, before the censorship, mainly negative reporting, and since, virtually no reporting on any government activity. They have not lived up to their claim  on allowing the people access to all the information required to make decisions on their future. Their position is unchanged. The Fiji Times sidesteps its non-recognition of government by reference to the people. What purpose is served therefore in its participation in government consultations?

I see no easy way out of this impasse. Backed by Rupert Murdoch money, Fussell, Editor-in-Chief Netani Rika and the Times can ride out falling circulation numbers, and government will not relent until the Times ceases to be so blatantly anti-government. On only one thing can we  be sure: having insisted on Fiji Times participation, the anti-government blogs and mainstream media will dismiss the consultations as a farce. Whatever it does, government is damned if it does not and damned if it does.

Pacific Islands News Association V-P John Woods, who also edits the Cook Islands News, has called for PINA to  relocate from Suva and for more transparency in the administration and finances of the organization. "I'm so frustrated by the inaction and inefficiency of our organisation, and I mean at the administrative level and from the president down." he said.

Funded mainly by Ausaid and other agencies, Woods complained he has seen no financial reports for over a year. He thinks the Suva location, and "kowtowing" to censorship, is preventing the association from doing its job. PINA has rejected repeated calls for it, and the wire service, to relocate. President Moses Stephens could not be contacted for a response.


The Child Welfare Decree 2010, endorsed by Cabinet for approval by the President, makes mandatory the reporting by all health authorities of child abuse cases  to the appropriate authorities. Health Minister Dr Neil Sharma said current legislation lacks this requirement. Failure to report cases will be a breach of professional conduct and an offence under the Decree.

 FEA restructuring. Cabinet has  announced an independent adviser is to be appointed to advise government on restructuring FEA. The move, aimed at better and more affordable services, is likely to see some private sector involvement in electricity provision. 

Council of Sugar Cane Growers. Cabinet has  approved the establishment of an appointed 11-member CSGC comprising eight grower and three government rperesentatives.

Counter Terrorism legislation. Cabinet has also  endorsed the urgent need to have a Counter Terrorism Legislation to protect Fiji’s interest from both internal and external threats. The decision recognizes the need for a 'total and whole government integrated approach' to be able to respond to any threat. Minister for Defence, National Security and Immigration, Ratu Epeli Ganilau, said it is a UN requirement under the UN Global Counter Terrorism Strategy that countries have a Counter Terrorism Legislation.

EU Centre to be based in Suva. Cabinet has also approved the request from Brussels to establish the Centre for the Development of Enterprises (CDE) Pacific Regional Office in Suva. Minister for Foreign Affairs, International Cooperation and Civil Aviation, Ratu Inoke Kubuabola, said that the CDE is an ACP-EU joint institution created under the framework of the Cotonou Partnership Agreement and is funded under the European Development Fund (EDF). The Centre will facilitate ACP-EU business partnerships, and support services, assist technology transfer and management skills.

Alleged price-fixing and anti-competitive practices in the hardware industry are being investigated by the Commerce Commission. Chairman Dr Mahendra Reddy said the commission has written to the hardware outlets informing them of the investigation, the process involved, the data required, the timeline of the investigation and the powers of the commission.

The National Volunteer Centre, established last December, is calling on people in the North to volunteer in an effort to help Northern farmers. Project officer Neil Maharaj says volunteers will follow up needs assessment, relief distributions, and emergency social services started by government and other agencies. The Centre has 350 registered members in the Central and Western Divisions. Recruitment in the North follows the damage incurred by Cyclone Tomas.


FT's war on its readers said…
As usual, Croz, you've got the context of the tussle between Ms Fussell and the regime absolutely right. Since when has any newspaper had a moral right to keep its readers in the dark to make any point - political, commercial or journalistic? In fact, deliberately ignoring any story, as the Fiji Times has consistently done over the past three years, is a betrayal of journalistic principle. I haven't seen this done anywhere else in the world. Funny that for 225 years, Rupert Murdoch's London Times has carried the motto "All the News that's Fit to Print". His Fiji newspaper of record has unilaterally chosen to alter that to "All the News We see Fit to Print". It's a genuine disgrace, whatever the rights and wrongs of the FT's current struggle with the regime. They'll argue, of course, that it's government censorship that's preventing them for properly servicing their readers. But their self censorship under the circumstances - ignoring certain stories out of pique - amounts to another assault on their hapless readers that they can control but won't.
Can't see Woods from the trees said…
So where does PINA go, Mr Woods? Rarotonga? Pulling the organisation out of Fiji makes as much sense as the ludicrous suggestion of moving the Forum Secretariat somewhere else. When Ethiopia was plunged into turmoil and civil war. they didn't move the headquarters of the African Union out of Addis Ababa. Because it's not about the domestic politics of these these places but what their locations and facilities represent. It may pain other wannabe ( Polynesian? ) Pacific nations but Fiji is the region's most sophisticated, educated place and at the crossroads to everywhere else. Why move any of the region's institutions just because there's a temporary process of political transition underway? You may as well say the USP should be moved too. Or that Nadi Airport's supervision of ten million square kilometers of air space should be moved to Honiara's Henderson Field. Idiocy.
Cara Wai said…

Your blatant bias against the Fiji Times and those opposed to the illegal regime in power now in Fiji still comes through loud and clear in your pathetic attempt to analyse the spat between the illegal AG and the Fiji Times.

What ever your bias against the Fiji Times, the people of Fiji believe they have the courage of their conviction to still try to report on the truth about the illegalities of the current regime. The Regime may be ruling by decree now but the time will come when all their actions will be exposed for all to see in Fiji.

Ask yourself this: Why the draconian measures to limit media freedom unless they have dirty dealings and corruption to hide? You remain naive to think the regime is working for the best interest of Fiji. We all know that all they're doing is filling their pockets, like Bainimarama's unlawful payment to himself of untaken leave amongst others and Aiyaz's illegal business dealings.

The sooner you own up to your bias the much better will be your analysis of a country you know nothing about and whose people don't owe you a cent for supporting an illegal regime. My advice; own up to your bias to clear your conscience.
Hobson's Choice said…
Damned if they do and damned if they don't?

Quite right Croz. Shows the damned IG shouldn't have wriggled it's way into the damned position in the first place.
Render unto Caesar said…
"The Fiji Times sidesteps its non-recognition of government by reference to the people. What purpose is served therefore in its participation in government consultations?"

You're showing your true colours here, Crosbie.

I always through that the best definition of government was 'for the people, by the people'.

Your definition of government seems to be 'for the people, by others who know better'.
Render me a dictionary said…
I always 'through' should've been I always thought.

Damn these computer spill chuckers
More wai on the brain said…
Cara Wai. fancy saying that Croz Walsh knows nothing about Fiji. He knows a hell of a lot more than you do, judging from your sweeping, unsupported assertions on practically everything. At least Croz is willing to see merit where merit is due and identifying the failings of both the IG and its opponents. You, on the other hand, are blind to the shortcomings of the former government and blind to the more positive aspects of the "new order". It is you who should spare us your polemic ranting and engage in a period of intense self reflection. Can I suggest that a good start would be to bask more in the wisdom of Croz Walsh and spend less time with your SDL cronies. You'll be a lot happier yourself and a lot more impressive in the eyes of the rest of us when you show some sign of knowing what you're talking about.
Wai is he corrupt? said…
Cara Wai, it's pathetic that the best you can come up to support your allegations of corruption by Frank Bainimarama is his backpay. The money was evidently due to him and there was certainly nothing secret about it being paid. You might think he didn't deserve it and you're entitled to your opinion. But to put this forward as the sole evidence that the PM is "corrupt" is ridiculous. You'll have to do a let better than that.
Sawdust said…
For someone who likes to point out the specks in others’ eyes you certainly seem to have a log or two in your own, Crosbie. Let’s take some of your statements:

First -
‘I also agree with Fussell that her remarks on the economy were not explicitly positive or negative’.
You’re actually agreeing with me, not Fussell, since I mentioned yesterday that her remarks weren’t positive or negative, but were neutral. She didn’t (to my knowledge) claim that her remarks were not positive or negative.

Second -
‘but why express this implied concern…’
Her concern wasn’t implied, it was explicit (‘… it [the media decree] could also impact on potential investment and on revenue streams…’)

Third -
‘Sayed-Khaiyum is correct in saying ‘The Fiji Times is the purveyor of negativity as far as Fiji has been concerned at least for the past three years.’
He’s not correct, and you aren’t either, for claiming that he is since ‘the past three years’ includes half of 2009 and 2010 a period during which FT was not negative (or anything else for that matter) as you later acknowledge by writing, “…and since [censorship], virtually no reporting on any government activity.”

We can sit and argue semantics all day, Crosbie but I’ve got work to do and you probably have grandchildren to spend time with. I just get somewhat depressed when I see the same unedifying bias, due to sloppy reporting, coming through in your posts that we all used to see and abhor in the FT.
Kumala Vula said…
See below a quote from someone in Fiji who is experiencing the illegal clampdown by the unelected Regime on access to blogs of people's choice:

"I was only able to get onto blog at my Mac consultants Office no problem. He says I have been blocked by the Vodofone server. I wonder why the supporters of this illegal regime stopped access by my computer and NOT by my blackberry.

What are they afraid of? Their bias and greed for money, power and status that they could never get in a democratic society. No wander they took the treasonous path and now trying to legitimise their actions."

Where in your ranting and raving against the Fiji Times and Fiji Freedom Bloggers do you include a condemnation of this blatant abuse of freedom and rights of Fijian to access information where and when they want it.

At least the elected Qarase government was not paranoid or frightened of the truth as they know better than to restrict people's rights and freedom unlike this unelected and illegal lot.
Sawdust for brains said…
Sawdust, are you a lawyer or something? Is this the best your forensic analysis of Croz's comments can yield? Seriously, honing in on the odd word he uses and contesting its precision isn't going to impress the court of public opinion. The prosecution's case against Croz for" bias" and "sloppy reporting" is dismissed. Now get back to work.
Kakana sega ni dina said…
Kumala Vula, so the Qarase government didn't restrict peoples' freedom and rights? Nonsense. Sure, they didn't restrict the rights of indigenous Fijians and did everything they could to give them more. But with the Qoliqoli Bill and the proposed changes to land tenure, they sure as hell restricted the freedom and rights of everyone else in Fiji. As for this wave of defensive comment about the Fiji Times, I suspect that much of it is coming from the paper's journalists. With all the spelling mistakes and tortured syntax, it must be.
Chip off the old block said…
Crosbie - please don't take what I wrote earlier personally. I have thought, and still think, you do a remarkable job.

'Sawdust for brains' (a gratifyingly apt epithet in your case) one person, the entire 'court of public opinion'?

You're evidently more schizoid than a team of psychologists could deal with.
Kai Viti said…
Kakana sega ni dina,

The Qoliqoli Bill is no different to what Maori want return to them as set out in the Treaty of Waitangi. Fijians were robbed of their foreshore rights and fishing ground which was instead vested in the State, contrary to the Fiji Deed of Cession. We all know that Frank is in the pockets of resort owners in trying to deprive Fijians of their right to negotiate directly with resort owners access to their foreshore and fishing grounds.

As a non Fijian, you would have no idea of what these rights mean to us just like for Maori.

Changes to land tenure were being undertaken in line with the laws of Fiji and in consultation with the Great Council of Chiefs. Again you would know nothing of these as you are so blinded by your loyalty to the unelected and illegal regime now ruling by decrees in Fiji. How undemocratic can you be.

Suggest you go back to the hoe you emerged from than comment on something you knowing nothing about nor care abut as it obviously has no deep meaning or significance to you. Your shallowness has shown up your naivety and bias. Moce Jo..
Indigenous arrogance said…
Kai Viti, you're just typical of the kind of greedy, lazy indigenous Fijian who not content with owning more than 80 per cent of the land, wants to extend his dominion over the seas. All this crap about "meaning" and "significance", as if somehow the Fijian is entitled to have his privileges reinforced over his fellow citizens in perpetuity. You think you have some kind of monopoly in this country to railroad everyone else into accepting your outrageous demands? You never had qoliqoli rights at any time, either before, during or after British rule. This is a concoction and a perverse rewriting of history. Next, you'll be wanting to wind the clock back pre-Cession so you can regain the legal right to eat us. Let's face it, all this crap about Fijian rights is a ruse by the indolent to extract more lavo from their fellow citizens to sit around the grog bowl all day. Most of you on this site aren't even in Fiji, happy to live in modern, multicultural countries like Australia and NZ while defending the notion of Fiji as a bastion of one race. The arrogance is breathtaking. Thank God Fiji is rid of you and your SDL puppets and your new "chief" is going to level the playing field for all of us. The more he beats you over the head the more we enjoy it. Because however much you hate the idea, we're kai Viti too.
Eat me said…
Indigenous arrogance - the legal right to eat people in this country has never been lost. The immorality section in the new crime decree just makes the activity a bit more proscribed
White Frangipani said…
The body language in the photo says a lot about Anne Fussell. Anyone who stands with their hands on their hips like she is, shows aggression and determination and often an unwillingness to think of any stance but their own. When you stand with your hands on your hips you are telling others that you are the boss that you know it all and you do as I say. Is that the Fijian way of dealing with a problem?
Body Language said…
You're probably right, White Frangipani. I wonder how often she does that?

Perhaps we could do a search on how many times Bainimarama stands with his arms crossed or hands on hips and compare that with Fussell to see who is the most aggressive, determined non Fijian.

Then we could do a search on how often he dresses up in military uniform nowadays vs how often she does. Hopefully her preference would be for the shiny black leather type of uniform with a cap and stockings, rather than the miserable old green camoflague or African banana republic blue.
Cara Wai said…
In case anyone above has forgotten what all this is about!

On December 31, President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau unilaterally fired three magistrates, providing neither reasons nor due process.

Fiji's ruler, Commodore ''Frank'' Voreqe Bainimarama, justifies the coup, the eight years of military dictatorship anticipated before elections slated for 2014, and a continuing military hand in governance as necessary to ''fix'' democracy in Fiji. This is despite last April's Fiji Court of Appeal ruling that held the coup unlawful.

UN member states should demonstrate that the world is monitoring Fiji's record of human rights violations and does not like what it sees.

In Geneva, they should ask Fiji hard questions about its human rights record, demand more than standardised responses, and make recommendations that reflect the basic principle that white sandy beaches - or anything else - do not justify the violation of fundamental human rights.
Senikau totoka said…
Your analysis is fabulous, White Frangipani, and from what I've heard from people who've met Anne Fussell, absolutely spot on. She's said to be assertive to the point of aggression if someone questions her point of view. And your reading of her body language confirms that.
Anonymous said…
Man, I can't believe some of the comments I am reading here.

Whatever happened to a person's right to their opinion?

So what if someone says they support Bainimarama? That's their opinion and they are entitled to it.

Ditto for those who oppose him.

Why, for example, do you need to stoop so low as to make debasing comments about someone else's mother?

You know who you are.

White Frangipani said…
Further to Anne Fussell's tussle and the photo with her hands on her hips.

Anger and aggression are easy to spot. When repressed, a person must look for more subtle signs of how the person is feeling. A few examples of these behaviors include.
1) Clenched fist.
2) HANDS ON HIPS with feet spread apart.
3) Narrowing the eyes. This can also occur when someone is thinking.
4) Frowning or barring teeth in a snarl.

When you try to dominate someone, you are trying to gain power. This is usually done by making the body appear larger and taking up more space. Examples include:
1) Striding briskly.
2)HANDS ON HIPS, especially in conjunction with the feet being spread apart.
3) Narrowing the eyes. This could also be anger or when someone is thinking.
4) Raising the eyebrows.
5) Clasping hands behind the head

Croz - it is such a great photo - how about a "caption competition" for the Anne Fussell tussle photo? (In good taste of course!)
Who's your mother? said…
TuMa, can you please tell me in which posting did someone have a go at somebody else's mother? been going through them without spotting your observation and it' s driving me nuts.
Dominatrix said…
I think it's when I mentioned Ms Fussell dressing up in patent leather uniform.

Satire doesn't appeal to everyone does it?

Mind you, my old Mum would see the funny side if the stockinged boot was on the other foot, so I don't feel too guilty.
Anonymous said…
So, everytime Anne Fussell says something, is the AG going to call a press conference to rebut it? Doesn't he have more important things to do? - William
Fiji Times finito said…
Just heard that News Limited will have to divest itself of the Fiji Times under the new laws. 90 per cent of any media organisation has to be owned by a Fiji citizen. Well, is the veka going to hit the fan now or what?
Frankie and Rupe in the ring said…
That'll teach Rupert Murdoch to mess with the Mighty Frank. He abandoned his Australian citizenship to become an American so he could buy up the media there. But I can't see him becoming a Fiji citizen to hold onto the Fiji Times. Good luck.
Clueless Clauses said…
Military Hierarchy Arrests Itself

The Fiji military hierarchy passed the Fiji Media Decree earlier today and immediately arrested itself for breaching Clause 37, concerning cross media ownership. In its attempt to arrest anybody who has ever printed anything at any time in Fiji, the FMF drafted the clause to forbid various classes of people from owning, or being associated with people who owned, different media.

Banned from owning shares in more than one medium were persons, their spouses, their parents, children, brothers, sisters, partners, partner’s spouses, partner’s spouses’ children, associates of partners, associates of partners’ spouses, associates of partners’ spouses’ children, relatives of associates of partners’ spouses and several other classes of human presently unidentified by anthropologists.

Once checks had been carried out by the Information Department, it was found that 3,347 of the FMF’s 3,348 employees were all in breach of the decree. Fortunately the Prime Minister, who is a complete bastard and therefore unrelated to anyone, was exempt from the arrests.

The Attorney General expressed satisfaction at the number of arrests saying, ‘Those in flagrant breach of the cross ownership clause will be subjected to the full brunt of the law. We must make an example of these people, therefore I will be recommending that the maximum fine of $100,000 be imposed for each violation.’

Consensus was that as a result of the likely convictions, Fiji would be able to clear its national debt within weeks.

In other news today, media mogul Rupert Murdoch took advantage of Fiji’s recently relaxed citizenship laws to take out dual US/ Fiji citizenship in order to enable him to remain owner of the Fiji Times. The new requirement for 90% local ownership passed by the recent media decree had previously been seen as a stumbling block to Murdoch’s attempt to take over the government by stealth. Now, with most of the competition behind bars, Murdoch has discarded the idea of stealth and has taken out several full page advertisements in The Sun to declare that he will be standing for dictator against the sole remaining member of the FMF who is not incarcerated.
Peppercorn payment? said…
Oi, let's get together and offer to buy it off him. What do you think? How about one dollar and a date with Anne Fussell? Or skip the date. She looks too aggressive. Even Dominatrix might have trouble containing that one!
Hang 'em High said…
Peppercorn - I reckon it'd best to stay out of the media altogether, despite the potential delights of Ms Fussell’s company. After all, Fiji now has a legal system that gives 6 weeks jail for murder and up to 5 years jail for being associated with the cousin brother’s sister’s mother of someone who owns shares in the Sun and Fiji One.

Why only 5 years? Death would be more appropriate. Thank you liberal Fiji for once again baulking at imposing a proper deterrent.
TheMax said…
About time the mouth piece of the powerful is brought to its knees and shut down forever. The Fiji Times is not the oldest Fiji newspaper. That title goes to the old Fiji Times and Herald Ltd, that honourable newspaper I used to read and enjoy buying back in the 80s. The Fiji Times of today is an arm of the Murdoch global media empire causing havoc allover the world with their slant reporting style creating more instability and harm than good. These kinds of media organizations must be shutdown forever.
War alert said…
No chance of Rupert Murdoch becoming a Fiji citizen and holding onto the paper anyway. The draft decree stipulates that any media owner needs to have been living in Fiji for five of the last seven years before registering and then needs to spend 9 months out of 12 actually present in Fiji thereafter. Got em on all fronts by the look of it. Time for Hari Punja to talk to Rupe? Can't think of anyone else who could afford to buy the FT and meet the ownership requirements. It's always been a very good business and could be made even better if the content was upgraded. Netani Rika might try to get News Limited to turn it into a worker's collective. But given his woeful stewardship of the paper, it would be bust in no time. It's going to be fascinating how all this plays out. But you can bet Murdoch's global media empire now goes feral on the IG. Rupe is a great hater and Frankie will now be among his worst enemies for having the impertinence to confront him.
Anonymous said…

Are you saying that Murduchs substantial investment in Fiji Times has turned to shit overnight on account of two inept blinkered individuals with zero business insight.
Anonymous said…
"Suggest you go back to the hoe you emerged from ..."

Perhaps the writer meant "hole" but it does illustrate the need for us to be a little more responsible about our postings.

I may have jumped the gun too if it was a simple typographical error.

Apologies to Kai Viti if I did.

Cara Wai said…
The draconian Media Decree just released in Fiji is nothing more than absolute paranoia about exerting control over media outlets in Fiji says a media expert. Read on..

New Zealand media law expert, Professor Ursula Cheer of Canterbury University, said the draft decree doesn't mention freedom of expression but dwells on exerting control.

"This appears to be all about control — control of ownership, control of content and control of just anything connected with publishing in Fiji," said Cheer.

Fiji is now no different to Uganda under Idi Amin, China and other totalitarian regimes afraid of the truth and just keen on dumbing down people by restricting their free access to information.

Ok Croz, let us hear your pathetic justification for such a silly move by the illegal and unelected regime in Fiji. Pray you come up with something better than your usual apologist slant.
TheMax said…
@ Anon

Murdoch's investment in Fiji is peanuts. Just one newspaper company he bought from the Hong Kong lady back in the late 80s. Ever since then, the Fiji Times became the conduit by which foreign interests used to gradually manipulate news to suit their masters devious agenda. Just take a look back at the Fiji Times reporting from after 1987 to 2006. This newspaper company MUST be closed for GOOD. Good riddance.
Ugandan relations said…
No, theMax, not closed for good but sold to someone local with a better sense of responsibility for nation building. Every other country in the world has media laws curbing foreign ownership so why not Fiji? This NZ harridan nobody from someplace called whatever quoted by Wai on the Brain doesn't deserve a hearing. Uganda my arse.
Phew! said…
If Kai Viti was intending to insult someone’s mum the word used would actually be ho’ not hoe. It’s why Santa often gets a slap at Christmas – calling out ho, ho, ho.

Good to know that my dressing Ms Fussell up in shiny leather and fishnet stockings was ok by you.
TheMax said…
@ Cara Wai

Who cares what Ursula Cheers say? She doesn't live in Fiji anyway.
TheMax said…
@ Cara Wai

Who cares what Ursula Cheer say? She doesn't live in Fiji anyway.
TheMax said…
@ Cara Wai

Who cares what Ursula Cheer say? She doesn't live in Fiji anyway.
Anonymous said…
I think TheMax must stutter.

Richard said…
Reading contributions posted, it seems they have left the subject and are now discussing people.

Don't let your Blog slid into the gutter Professor.
Invictus said…
Yesterday's reported tussle between Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum and Fiji Times publisher and managing director Australian Anne Fussell prior to the Media Decree consultations should be read at two levels, for what was said and for what was inferred. The tussle was reported in full and uncensored by the Times.

Level one: Fussell thought more time was needed to study the decree draft before consultations commenced. Two and one-half hours is too short. I agree. But why, in reporting the tussle, did the Times not include the AG's statement that last week's advertisement contained the bulk of the decree? Not quite the same things but participants will have had far longer than 2 1/2 hours to consider the main items.

Still on level one, I also agree with Fussell that her remarks on the economy were not explicitly positive or negative, but why express this implied concern now when the whole anti-government stance of the Times since December 2006 has acted to deter investment. Sayed-Khaiyum is correct in saying "The Fiji Times is the purveyor of negativity as far as Fiji has been concerned at least for the past three years."

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