Subramani on the Media Decree and Overseas Journalists' Misconceptions


New media authority chief brushes aside RSF’s ‘misconceptions’ on Fiji decree

RSFPacific Scoop
Report – By Roland Koroi in Suva

Professor Subramani, a former University of the South Pacific academic and author who heads Fiji’s new Media Development Authority, has dismissed the Reporters Without Borders (RSF) report ranking the country as worst in the Pacific for media freedom.
He says many people have not read the country’s media decree carefully enough and have “misconceptions”.
The decree provides media guidelines that were previously not present and it should be regarded as a “stage in the evolution” of the Fiji media industry, he says.

Professor Subramani says the authority is setting up its infrastructure so that it could be fully operational within a month.
The position of secretary for the authority will be advertised in the next week and an office space has been earmarked.
Subramani told FBC News the authority would be proactive in working with the media, and constructively help support the development of quality media services.
It would also interpret the provisions in the media decree.
Verbal complaints
Professor Subramani told FBC News that the authority had not received any formal complaints so far but there had been some comments and “a couple” of verbal complaints.
According to the RSF World Press Freedom Index report,  New Zealand was one of the 10 top winners and Japan (11th), Australia (18th) and Hong Kong (34th) occupied “favourable positions”.
Two Asian democracies, Taiwan and South Korea, rose 11 and 27 places respectively, after noteworthy falls in the 2009 Index. Although some problems persist, such as the issue of the state-owned media’s editorial independence, arrests and violence have ceased.
Some developing countries have managed to make solid gains, particularly Mongolia (76th) and the Maldives (52nd). As a rule, the authorities have been respectful of press freedoms, exemplified by their decriminalisation of press offences in the Maldives.
However, “an occasional ranking in this index can be deceptive”, the RSF report said.
Fiji (149th), for example, rose three places, even though the military-backed government had passed a new “liberticidal” press law.
“The year 2009 had been so tragic, with soldiers invading news staff offices, that the year 2010 could only seem to be somewhat more tranquil,” the report said.
Sri Lanka (158th) jumped four places: “Less violence was noted there, yet the media’s ability to challenge the authorities has tended to weaken with the exile of dozens of journalists.”
Roland Koroi is a Fiji Broadcasting Corporation reporter.


Walker Texas Ranger said…
What exactly is this word 'liberticidal'?
(viz the RSF report)

Have you ever come across anything more nonsensical in the body of a supposedly serious report? The new Media Decree in Fiji (which one has not yet read in full) has been drafted to ensure that the media operates with balance, it is accessible to all Fijians in an equitable and fair manner. Previously, this was not so. For a period of more than five years, anything that we submitted to the Fiji Times about our understanding of serious crime issues was refused access (even to investigative reporters - were there any?). In this time, organised crime, human trafficking and violent home invasions were taking place all over Fiji. The Fiji Times consistently refused to report until their Editor himself was attacked. Comment on this had to be made through rival media outlets. What a ridiculous waste of time and energy leading to......nothing useful, to impunity under an Australian Police Commissioner (but paid partly by us) and to civilians in Fiji being constantly targeted with violence. So, it is erroneous to assume that formerly the Media in Fiji was free. It was not. It was manipulated, subverted and 'in hock' to political and to criminal interests. Thus leaving Fiji, its civilian population and its investors 'in hock' to local extremists, to potential terrorists, to organised crime and criminals who have been engaged in human trafficking, hard drugs dealing, prostitution and money laundering. Marijuana is chicken feed compared to the activites of these criminal cartels. Criminal intimidators have been allowed free rein. So where does that leave Netani Rika and Russell Hunter?
Stella Rimington said…
@ Walker Texas Ranger

In effect, the Fiji Times under Netani Rika's regime (sic)allowed civilians in Fiji to live under a reign of racist-supremacist, orchestrated terror for much of a period of six to seven years. This is not stated lightly. Rika and Russell Hunter in particular refused to take their positions seriously, to investigate murders and criminal intimidations when the Fiji Police were failing in many locations. Former Police Commissioner Andrew Hughes should take note. He was still on the ground. He was paid in part by us from taxation to ensure our safety and security.

This did not eventuate for many: a British Citizen who lost an eye in a gang attack; an Indian national who was murdered at his own gate; a German national who was also murdered at the gate to his home; women living alone who received constant threats and criminal intimidation by stalking over a full three year period. Those "stalkers" are still at large. Who will take them in? They speak in Hindi and they are clever and well-organised. They use offices and computers as a cover to their core activity They use others who speak in Fijian dialect. Who pays them? Why do they travel in and out of Hong Kong and India with regularity? Who stops them? Where are they NOW?

Terror knows many names; terror has many faces. So far, three Police Commissioners have failed to stop the 'Stalkers'. Why? And do either the Fiji Times or the Fiji SUN or the media in general in Fiji care? These Stalkers are "merchants of death". They rape their prey, then they are bailed. Why? Any newspaper reporter worth a pinch of salt and their editors would want to know WHY.
What's in a name? said…
People do adopt some strange names on this site. Stella Rimington was the former head of MI5 who went on to be a great writer of spy thrillers. Is she an avid reader of Croz's blog? Or has some Kailoma gentleman read about her and decided - in the Fijian way - to name one of his kids after her. Intriguing. What gives Stella?
Lie down with dogs said…

I believe that you should quickly take down the last post by 'Dirty Harry'.
It is scurrilous, libellous and would – if allowed to remain, leave you open to a charge of hypocrisy, given your recent comments about equally offensive posts in Coup 4.5.
Croz Walsh said…
@ Lie down ... Thanks. I should have picked this up myself and not published it.
Misconception said…
My apologies to Mr Submarini. I was under the misconception that Fiji had a coup and was run by a military junta imposing continuos PER and censorship. I would like to thank him for correcting my misconception - I'll put my periscope up in future.
Anonymous said…
The continuing activity of serious organised criminals in Fiji - now a murder of a businessman in Lautoka, leaving a young widow and three fatherless children - endorses what has been reinforced above about the failure of the Media over five years and more to thoroughly address organised criminal cartels. These are the people behind such murders, the bag-men and all associated in the planning and targetting.

Why are women still being widowed in this way in Fiji? Those who are left are often criminally intimidated and no one is held accountable.

We now look to the Commissioner of Police and his senior officers to ensure that these 'merchants of death' are brought to account. The Fiji Media are to assist as fully as they are able in this effort. And where, oh where is James Datta?

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