'Disgusting' Comments, ABC and RNZI Slips are Showing, Sugar Suing, MSG Laughing Stock

WEEKEND READING.  ♦ Allen Lockington's column ♦ Scott MacWilliam reviews Michael Field's Swimming with Sharks ♦ Thakur Ranjit Singh on Brij Lal's book about Jai Ram Reddy ♦ Subramani on Misconceptions about Media Decree ♦ Marist Spirit Leaves Mark.

have drawn comments from readers on this blog. Check out both sites.

ABC INTERVIEW PINA. ABC's Geraldine Coutts bowled several leading question at Matai Akauola of the Pacific Islands News Association in an interview yesterday.

Geraldine: Fiji's still got censors in every newsroom. 
Matai: They have been removed. 
Geraldine: Fiji's second to last in the International Press Freedom ratings.[Let's not mention Mexico and the Philippines where journalists have been killed.]... Matai: It depends how you look at it. We want to move on.
Geraldine: Fiji journalists are at risk... Think of the molotov cocktails ... Fiji media still suffering from ... x and y.
Matai:  The new Media Decree (MIDA) can open doors for discussions with government. We want dialogue with government.

Geraldine's approach was not necessarily anti-Fiji of course, though ABC's record on impartial Fiji interviews leaves much to be desired. But why has it become almost standard practice for journalists to probe for negatives. Is absolutely nothing positive happening in Fiji?  Is it worse or better than it was? What is the government trying to do? Has progress been made? How are things since the Fiji Times changed ownership? Repeating the same old questions (and most are very old) cannot possibly help their readers and viewers to understand the situation better.

CONGRATULATIONS TO MICHAEL FIELD.  Dear Michael, Your coverage of the Hobbits saga was excellent.  A balanced report putting some facts into the fictions. A most welcome reversal of approach. Keep it up. Croz

IS RADIO NZINTERNATIONAL  LOSING THE PLOT?  Radio NZ International informs us that a previously unheard of international monitoring group has given Fiji 0 out of 100 on budget transparency. Trawl even deeper and they might find the last orange roughy.

Radio NZI also reminds us that Fiji has not commented on "its continued exclusion from Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index which lists 178 countries", an index that "lists countries and territories according to the level of perceived corruption in a country’s public sector." 

I have three questions:
1) Why should the Fiji Government comment?  Did the government of Vanuatu that ranked 73 comment? Or Kiribati at 91, Tonga at 101 and Papua New Guinea at 154? Or  the governments of NZ, Denmark or Singapore that were near the top?;
2) If governments in these  countries "kept mum" (the RNZI words for Fiji's non-response), why did RNZI single out the Fiji government's non-response for mention?
3) Why is RNZI keeping on about Fiji's place on these indexes, and no one else's?
My explanation is that RNZI is more concerned about making a point than reporting worthwhile news. If this is the case, they exceed their role as a state broadcaster, and I think the NZ Broadcasting Standards Authority would agree.

FIJI SUGAR TO SUE INDIAN VENDORS.The Fiji Sugar Corporation is pursuing legal options about suing the Indian authorities responsible for the failed $86million mill upgrade.An independent consulting engineer is also expected from India next month to determine action against vendors who failed to complete work to an agreed standard. The failed mill upgrades have adversely and seriously affected the sugar industry and the national economy. FSC lost an unprecedented  $175.1m last year, following a downward spiral with losses of $19.3m in 2008 and $36.8m in 2009. This was attributed mainly to frequent mill breakdowns and inefficient cane processing and sugar production.

The mill upgrade program was initiated in 2006 and was supposedly completed prior to the beginning of crushing in  May this year.


DIWALI  DINNER NIGHT. The Fiji Hindu Society will hold a “Diwali Dinner Night” this Saturday at the Kshatriya Hall starting at 6pm. to assist poor families. Funds collected will be given to poor families to help them with their Diwali shopping.  Diwali will be celebrated on November 6th.


Suggestion said…
While many may disagree I think much of Victor Lal's posting do add valuable bakground and opions on 4.5 If we had a free media he would no doubt be published in Fiji regulary as he was previously.

(actually even with a free press he may not be published now because media will self regulate - they know what can happen if they don't).

Anyway Croz - perhaps you can offer Victor to contribute a few articles to your blog ? After all you are about balance and respecting different voices are you not ?

The other stuff at 4.5 please leave behind.
The trouble with Victor said…
Suggestion, maybe Victor Lal would do himself a favour by sticking to the facts in a reasoned manner and not sounding quite so hysterical. You tell me his stuff is good but when I read it, I find it riddled with so much hyperbole I don't know what to believe.

The other day, for instance, he actually claimed that Frank Bainimarama was one of the most corrupt leaders in the entire world. I almost fell off my chair laughing. I've been up to his house and he lives like any other senior civil servant in Fiji, a few battered Pacific green chairs and the usual collection of family photos. No expensive art works or gilded furniture. I didn't get to see Mary's collection of shoes but she hardly dresses like Imelda Marcos.

So Frank got some back pay for leave owing that he couldn't take. Big deal. That doesn't make him a crook. If this guy is bent, show us the real evidence, Victor, not some beat-up written in obvious anger and frustration.

You want the guy wandering around in rags? So he's got some nice suits nowadays and a snappy line in Bula shirts. Good for him. We don't want our national leader looking like he's just walked out of the teitei.

No, Victor deserves to stay where he is until he's driven by real journalism, not polemic and extravagant hyperbole. Right now, on the evidence, he just can't be trusted to stick to the facts.
sara'ssista said…
only a few this fanatical focus on 'the positive', when it suits.
The positiove is that people are not allowing to be brokenn or bribed by an illegal military regime.

You have now the unenviable record of promoting the positives of military regime that censors by force, sacks the judiciary, deports opponents without due process, kidnaps and holds people to be totured and incomminucado without charge, appoints presidents and tohers without any lawful authority and then claims they themselves have been appointed to run the country, stack government boards claiming only they can save fiji, back pay themselves and decine any oversight of government spending on the military, draft decrees and claim mandate they don't have after pressuring and 'educating' the population, threatening opponents to'shut up or else'and co-opting chiefs (having shutdown GCC) that they have now forced into support or face exclusion altogether. The posiitve is seeking an alternative to ongoing militray rule for eight years but this regime and its supporters are fixated on this or nothing.
re: The trouble with Victor.....

Victor Lal is not here so how can he vouch for the marked absence of solid gold (yellow) rolexes? He cannot. He must rely on hearsay or second hand gossip. Not a sound habit. A number of former Fiji politicians sported these. They acquired them by dubious means. They wore them as an 'in your face insult' to the people among whom they moved. The ultimate vestige of vulgarity - here for all to see? In the new Age of Austerity, a solid yellow gold Rolex which has been acquired by inexplicable means while holding a publicly-remunerated office, flies in the face of not only good taste but also of common sense. The dispensers of the solid yellow gold time-pieces should look closely at their own part in this historic display and take a long look in the mirror. Why must timepieces so often play such a major role in revealing the flaws of leadership? Over many centuries not just the 21st?
MJ said…

Stop about the sacked judges already. Last time I looked there are plenty of judges working alot harder now than they did pre 2006. And don't go saying they are all just military appointments who toe the government line. There have been plenty of decisions that have gone against the government interests. At least they are much more independent than the crooks in charge just after the 2000 coup who ripped the law to shreds while trying to promote indigenous interests
Dictators and their Rolexes said…
Tempus Fugit, a good point. You remind us of how Sitiveni Rabuka used to sport a solid gold Rolex. Who gave it to him? His good mate, a local Gujarati mogul, as Rabuka used to tell anyone who listened. You're right, no shame. But these things come in handy. A few years later, when the wolf was barking at the door, the word went around town that there was a cheap gold Rolex for sale. Yes, the same. Asking price? $10,000, a bargain when a new one was close to $20,000. I never did find out which home it eventually went to. I've personally got nothing against Rolexes, if you can afford one. They hold their value, except in a street fire sale, and are a nice heirloom to pass on. But most people go for stainless steel, perhaps because gold is the traditional preference of spivs and dictators. I can't see Frank in a gold one either. He certainly didn't have one last time I looked.
Victor go home said…
@The trouble with Victor - I have also been to the PM's house, it is hardly a rolling mansion, he lives simply and without fuss. He gets his shirts made by a friend, and god forbid he should buy a new suit, what, we want him turning up at the UN looking like a destitute?

Victor Lal once made a big contribution to journalism, however with statement like 'Frank is one of the most corrupt world leaders' is so far fetched its simply laughable, based on what poll victor? or did you run your own poll on 'worlds most corrupt leaders' i would sure like to see the results and the methodology behind it. Maybe he can publish it on this site?

Victor Lal would not be published even if the PER were lifted, remember a story needs to be factual and balanced. His work is that of fiction, and i ask myself this, why does Victor Lal continue to publish his work on a site that is so anti Indian?

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