Showing posts from March 21, 2010

(o) Media Censorship, Media Freedom, Media Ownership and Balanced Reporting

This post briefly reviews Professor Wadan Narsey' second paper in a week; then looks at how his paper was reported in New Zealand and by Australia's ABC, and concludes with information of the ABC's ownership and management that raises questions about media freedom and balanced reporting.
Wadan's second paper discusses relationships between the People's Charter and media censorship. On balance it's a worthwhile, thoughtful paper that deserves wide distribution. This is why this link is provided to the paper. I urge you to read it carefully.

I have only two comments on the paper. First, nothing that Wadan writes is "innocuous" (as he claimed of another paper) even when his opposition to the Bainimarama government is wrapped in  partial approvals. Wadan is a politician, a  polemicist, as well as an academic. Secondly, in pointing to contradictions between the Charter and a number of government actions, most particularly media censorship, he has moved the …

Twists in the Tale of Two Cities

How Fiji media censorship backfired, how Wadan Narsey's article was not quite as apolitical as he claimed, but should have been published anyway;  and how Michael Field used what Wadan said or was thought to have said -- with a little bit added.

1. Wadan Narsey in Suva
Why on earth government censored at the Fiji Times rejected an article titled  "Fiji’s far-reaching population revolution" is anybody's guess, but it could be because it was written by well-known coup critic USP's Economics Professor Wadan Narsey. Or perhaps they were put off by the word "revolution" or thought population projections with political implications too dangerous a topic to publish at the present time.  If they read the article, which is by no means certain, I can't see where their objections lie. It's written by an academic for general readers. This is one of the benefits of having university researchers just down the road.

And the topic -- the causes, and political,…

Lockington's Everyday Fiji ... Life Goes On

Allen Lockington is a self-employed customs agent and business consultant who has regular articles published in I thank Allen and Connect for permission to reprint some of them in this political blog. They remind us that life goes on, whatever the political situation. And it's good to know that.

Win or Lose, We're Still Kings

Hong Kong, here we come. Let’s forget about Adelaide and move on. Fiji Rugby House and the Sevens team will know how we feel. It's only human that a time will come when we will fail, blame someone, bicker and find fault. It’s pretty hard to say, “Oops, sorry people, it’s my fault.” Now that the feelings of fans have been aired let’s get together once again, lets bind and move on.

Talk around the kava bowl in Waiyavi was that there was something bad going on in the Sevens contingent.  I suppose we don’t want to hear about it now. Let’s just move on. Because if we lift the cup in Hong Kong naturally we will all be sing…

(o-) Open Letter to Police Commissioner Esala Teleni

Dear Commissioner,

I am informed the censors have again instructed at least two internet service providers (ISPs) , Kidanet and Connect, to block Fiji users access to blog sites, or face the risk of being closed down.

My informant writes:"Kidanet is blocking you – Connect isn’t. But then again, Connect are blocking sites that Kidanet are not. The end result is that between them they are blocking a fair swag of sites. I'm totally fed up with the hamfisted blocking of websites (including yours, by Kidanet) by both Connect and Kidanet. I have been told on good authority that Police Commissioner Teleni has threatened to rescind their licences if they don't block the sites."

Commissioner, we have not met and you will probably take no notice of my advice, but for what it's worth I think  blocking  blogs is mistaken on three grounds.

First, it alienates moderate opinion, in Fiji and overseas. As Fiji moves towards 2014, Government will increasingly need the support of th…

(+) Whose Court Smells of Rotten Fish?

The normally "moderate" and well informed anti-Government blog Fiji Today has published what some could believe to be a subtantiated post on the Bainimarama assassination plot trial that claims the  verdict was staged. The post is titled "The Smell of Rotten Fish in the Courthouse."

The blog said in investigating the story it (presumably one of the four editors) held "several clandestine meetings with a senior serving officer in the RFMF" and  from these meetings with this one officer of unknown rank and unknown access to information on military personnel or court procedures, the blog claims it can confirm:
The Chief Registrar of the High Court army lawyer Major Ana Rokomokoti is still listed as being on active duty with the RFMF. The Chief Registrar nominated both the judge and the assessors for this case.Three of the five assessors in this case are serving or territorial members of the military.The lawyers concerned were in no position to argue against t…

Church Leaders Should Heed PM’s message: Fiji Sun

The  Sun's  editorial on the government and the Methodist church will be dismissed by some because of Fiji's several newspapers it is known to most favour government. But the message makes sense, and most of the points made are well known already.

Government is not opposed to the church; only its politicalization and use by extreme Fijian nationalists. The editorial, commenting on Bainimarama's meeting with church leaders on Monday, said: "All that the Prime Minister wants from them is to get away from politics. To instead serve the needs of their members as a church. We all know that the church was used by some in the past to push their own political agendas. Certain politicians used the church. Certain church leaders were politicians more than men of God. We all know there were divisions in the church over this."

The editorial concluded: "We pray and hope that there will be a positive reaction from all the church leaders to Commodore Bainimarama’s message.…

Rinakama in 'Good Health'- Why Did We Not Know Before?

Blog Coupfourpointfive released this statement citing SDL sources today, preceded by a post that details the charges against him. Rinakama is free and in good health, and has been for quite a while.

My opinion is that that the SDL and Rinakama have deliberately delayed news of his release because they wanted people to think he was still under arrest or dead. This in my books is a sin of omission. The blog posting, however, attracted a comment that it was the "junta" that let the story fester. This is not true. A police spokesman reported his release of 22 March but none of those who had commented on the detention believed him.

The blog comment went on: "it was to the junta's advantage to fuel people's imagination and fear by speculating and allowing them to conjure up all sorts of horrific images Rinakama may have undergone - if only to deter the aggrieved masses and keep them at bay." This is nonsense. Nothing of Rinakama's detention appeared in the…

Breaking News: Methodists Have Rethink

Radio Fiji reports that senior Methodist ministers have asked those named by government as "political" to step down.

The Narsey and Field Story

This post consists of emails about an article written by USP Professor Wadan Narsey (photo) intended for publication in the Fiji Times that was censored  by government censors, and what was done with the article by Michael Field in an article published in Scoop and copied by several blogs. Hyperlinks are provided to both articles. I suggest readers look at the Field article before reading further, I will publish a longer, follow-up item on these articles over the coming weekend.

My email to Professor Wadan Narsey
Hi Wadan,
I'm puzzled by the remarks attributed to you by Michael Field:
Dr Narsey said his demographics paper has been banned but has circulated outside the country. "The censors won't allow it," he said from Suva. "I hope I don't get taken in, they have rung me and threatened me."Assuming he's referring to your paper "Fiji's Far Reaching Population Revolution," this is readily accessible from the USP website. 

Field also say…

Transparency, Land, Sugar, Abuse of Office, Rinakama, Methodists, Biosecurity

Brief Shorts Photo: filipspagnoli
(+) Transparency lacking. Speaking at the corporate governance workshop on Monday, Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum  said he is worried about the way decisions are being made in some corporations because those decisions do not illustrate transparency.“I have noticed decisions being made before positions are advertised or before expressions of interests are called for service."  People, he said, talk about good governance but do not understand the real meaning of the word or apply it in their lives. The need for transparency and good governance was amply indicated in yesterday's post on the National Bank of Fiji and Agricultural scams, and is further illustrated by the following four  stories. Getting rid of abuse of office and the "culture of corruption" is part of the government Roadmap.

(+) Land a political football.
Landowners who failed to plant sugarcane on land they took back from mainly Indo-Fijian tenants now owe the Nativ…

Institutional Failure, Hurricane Relief, Sugar, US Report, Anti-Corruption Measures

Short Briefs
Institutional failure caused Fiji scams.    Institutional failure played a big role in two of Fiji’s worst scams – the National Bank of Fiji fraud and the Agriculture scam, former judge and workshop facilitator Nazhat Shameem  told a corporate governance workshop in Suva yesterday.

She said the National Bank of Fiji Scam (that cost the country over $220million or 8% of GDP with government raiding the FNPF to make good the financial shortfall)   occurred after the 1987 coup and the multi-million dollar Agricultural Scam (where agricultural equipment was used by the Qarase government to win votes)  occurred after the 2000 coup. In both situations "entities are neutralized ...There are no set procedures and policies ... and this is when the vultures come in.”

Both scams were eventually exposed by the media.  “Government ministries and corporate entities [had forgotten] to ask themselves, what really is their job? “It’s a situation where national interest is…

Rinakama Seen in Downtown Suva

This comment  is from "The Max."  I'd be pleased to learn of any more "sightings." If Max is not  mistaken, why hasn't Rinakama or the SDL not admitted he is no longer being held by the RFMF.
Postscript. It now has. Rinakama is alive and well and was released from detention on March 10. See later postings.
TheMax said...
" Hi Croz,
I just noticed you still have the Peceli Rinakama missing story on your page when I surfed your blog today. I just wanted to put the matter to rest.

Last Saturday, I was standing near a church in downtown Suva and saw Mr Rinakama crossing the street just in front of me. He actually looked well wearing a pair of shorts, canvas/sneaker and a nice jersey (I think it was a Fiji Rugby souvenir jersey, must have worn the jesrsey in support of the Fiji 7s team).

I was even surprised to see him looking well and good considering I've been reading so much negative news about his arrest on the different blogs.

So please en…

Rabi, Hurricane, Rinakama, Bole in NZ ....

Short Briefs
The map shows, from north to south,  Eastern Vanua Levu to Udu Point; the Tunuloa peninsula, Vanua Levu, with Kioa (home to Fiji's Tuvaluans) and Rabi islands; and the northern tip of Taveuni. 

Rabi island, home of Fiji's Banaban population, was in the direct path of the hurricane but as far as I can tell there's been no official mention of Australian or NZ reconnaisance flights, deaths, damage or relief supplies, although government apparently tried to make contact with the island before the hurricane hit.

We do have a report from Michael Field in Stuff ("Devastated Pacific island facing starvation") that the island is "facing starvation and disease." The report cites Dr Bauro Vanualaila, Rabi Council chairman speaking from Suva,  saying the island "is devastated". One person is dead, many houses are destroyed, "all the food crops and fruit trees have gone [and it] will take just another day or two [before] people will star…

Map: Houses Totally Destroyed


(o) Eight Hundred Homes Destroyed or Damaged

Disaster Management operations officer Anthony Blake has confirmed that  376 homes were destroyed and 423 damaged by Hurricane Tomas. This is the breakdown by location:

Murder, Drugs, Threats, Methodists, Gold; Detailed Hurricane Updates and Lessons from the Past

Short briefsDetailed Hurricane updatesLessons from Past Hurricanes: Government Action Needed Photo. Vatukoula gold mine.

Conspiracy to Murder Trial.FijiVillage provides this useful link to numerous items on the Assassination plot to kill PM Bainimarama. It's also worth bookmarking for later reference. 
Fiji's suspension from regional and international bodies, including meetings of Pacific Police Chiefs, is proving to be an "overwhelming barrier" to addressing illicit drug issues, and their relationship with HIV and domestic violence.

The threats continue.  A warning from Tears for Fiji, an Anti-Government blogger, to Bainimarama: "Your children and your grandchildren will PAY! Mark our may not be around to see them suffer the consequences of your selfish actions, but they WILL! God works in Mysterious ways!"

Some 130 Methodist senior ministers and officils will meet PM Bainimarama on Wednesday, when they will seek some lifting of restrictions on me…

The Colours of Holi Shower a New Key of Hope for Fiji

New Zealand Defence C-130 on deployment. File image by Jason Dorday and courtesy of
Pacific Scoop: Opinion  by Thakur Ranjit Singh
At the stroke of 6 am on Wednesday  March 17 2010, the silence of the, crisp and cool autumn Waitakere dawn at the Whenuapai Air force base was dethroned by the drone of an aircraft – a carrier of hope.

As the C-130 Hercules aircraft from NO 40 Squadron of the Royal New Zealand Air Force taxied out of its hangar, loaded with emergency relief supplies for the cyclone ravaged Fiji, it was a moving epitome of humanity and statesmanship in action.

It also strengthened our belief that every country, once in a while, needs a change in leadership where a relatively younger leader with a propensity to heal wounds, build bridges, and promote goodwill takes over the helm of the nation. Such a leader, with a fresh, liberal, and more pragmatic outlook, bereft of the shackles of old rivalries and unbridled ego, brings new hope to the nation.