Showing posts from April 4, 2010

(o+-) Pro- and Anti- Observations on the Draft Media Decree

These are links and brief notes on pro- and anti-observations on the draft Media Decree. A CCF statement was posted yesterday. I expect to be able to say something myself soon but first there's some digging and chainsaw work to do.

The draft Decree may be read here through this Mediafire link  or through the same link provided in a previous post.                    Photo:

Hear CCF's Mosmi Bhimspeaking on the democratisation of Fiji - how to achieve it and how to cope with the present situation. Mosmi, speaking as an individual, was attending the conference of the Australian Association for the Advancement of Pacific Studies at Victoria University, Melbourne. The Presenter is Bruce Hill.

Interviewed by Radio Tarana PM Bainimaramasaid he's looking forward to the outcome of the consultations and thinks the  media industry will now have an "appreciation of how government wants to engage in building a responsible media that will move the country forward." He s…

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.

Tourism Money-Go-Round
It has been reported that tourist arrivals are up. At the end of the fiscal year can we show an increase in revenue, just to balance the equation? But many tourists come on pre-planned pleasure trips. Most things are paid for on the other side. What they spend in Fiji is just a measly sum on handicraft, necklaces a little food and maybe soft drinks.  All the big money is paid and left overseas.

Most tourist ship arrival tours are organized on buses. The tourist goes from boat onto the bus and is whisked straight to an already mega-rich handicraft shop. They see the countryside zooming pass them. The small people are left waving on the…

(o) Read the Draft Media Decree

Click on this link to Mediafire and then click Download.

(o) Citizen's Constitutional Forum Media Release on Draft Media Decree

Media Laws must protect Freedom of Expression

CCF urges the interim government to urgently reconsider parts of the Media Industry Development Decree in order to protect freedom of opinion and expression in Fiji. “The Draft Media Industry Development Decree effectively replaces the restrictions under the Public Emergency Regulations and allows strict media censorship to continue in Fiji,” says Rev. Akuila Yabaki, ”PER and censorship must be lifted so that the citizens of Fiji can enjoy the right to receive and impart information and diverse opinions.” After attending the consultation on Wednesday 7 April 2010 and briefly reading the draft decree, CCF makes the following submissions and recommendations:- Section 4(1) – If there is going to be a Media Authority, there should be guidelines or criteria on who the minister should select for the Authority. It should include the appointment of credible and experienced people from the media industry.  Sections 6(2) and 9 be struck out to en…

A-G on Draft Media Decreee

Click here.  FBCL - News

(o) Draft Media Decree Update; Blog Blocking; WAC Announcement, and ...

The Draft Media Decree. I understand participants at the Suva consultation had to return their copy of the draft decree before leaving the meeting. Whatever for? The draft was already leaked to the media. But even before sighting the draft, the usual team of of anti-government assessors had already made their judgment. Mine will have to wait until I've studied the draft in detail and pondered on what others have written.

I see no problem with the Code of Ethics which I wrongly thought this whole exercise was about,  but there are four  areas of major concern: 1) the proposed limitations on foreign media that will affect The Fiji Times and the Fiji Daily News;  2) the extent to which MIDA (the Media Industry Development Authority) and the Media Tribunal are able to be independent of government control;  3) the extent of fines for breaching the regulations and (4) who will pay them, the media organization or the journalist?


(o) Media Decree: Initial Release

The draft media decree released at today's consultations, attended by 50 representatives of media organisations,  NGOs and special interest groups,  contains strong penalties, requires media organisations to be 90% locally-owned and gives a regulatory authority powers to be able to demand documents or information. The measures are among a wide range of provisions aimed at emphasising fair, accurate and responsible reporting.

The specification on 90% ownership by Fiji citizens states they must have lived in Fiji for five out of the last seven years prior to the organisation being registered and thereafter, to have lived in Fiji for at least nine out of 12 months a year.

All printed material will be required to carry the author’s name, and similar provisions will apply to broadcast material where possible. Breaching the proposed content regulations could make organisations liable to a fine of $500,000 or a fine of up to $100,000 and up to five years in jail for publish…

(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 rema…

(o+) Ba Province Blames Ballu Khan for Million Dollar Losses

The people of Ba are blaming Fiji-born New Zealand multi-millionaire businessman Ballu Khan (photo: Fiji Daily Post)  for losses incurred by the Ba Provincial Holdings Limited,  and may take legal action against him. The company belongs to the Ba Provincial Council, which is owned by the ethnic Fjjian people of the Province.

Ba Provincial Council member and Western Shipping Operations manager, Luke Ratuvuki, said Ballu Khan was involved with missing financial documents needed for audit purposes.The Board irectors of the company were unable to form an opinion whether the financial statements given were true because of the missing documents.

Mr Ratuvuki, a former permanent secretary in the deposed Qarase government, said “Ballu Khan is involved. There was some involvement of Mr Khan in the illegal takeover of the Company Board that was headed by Ratu Tevita Momoedonu in August, 2006.  “This was [done] through his company Pacific Connex and the Native Land Trust Board."

Ratuvuki sa…

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 complaint…

Short Briefs: Lots of Sanctions, Roadmap and Economy, Censorship

Short Briefs
Australia not listening. Solomon Islands Foreign Minister, William Haomae, says Australia is not listening to Pacific Island countries on the timetable for talks on the proposed PACER Plus Free Trade agreement. Fiji is excluded from these talks.                                           Photo. Nick Driano.
Continued EU sanctions  a blow to sugar industry. USP Economics professor Biman Prasad says the continuation of EU sanctions is a major blow to the sugar industry. Fiji would have received some US$84m of EU aid since 2006, almost all of which has now expired leaving only US$38m available for 2010, and even that is now suspended for another six months. The aid, suspended since the Coup, was intended to improve overall efficiency and boost production at the farm level. Prof Prasad said the "the continued withholding of the aid will have a drastic impact."

It is difficult to see how crippling an already ailing major industry on which…