Showing posts from June 27, 2010

Weekend Reading - Scroll Down to Read

Allen Lockington's Column ----Cuban Surprise----- Selected Coments from the Week---- Conversation with a NZ Herald Editor (pending) -----Changes to the Draft Media Decree.Scroll down to read.

How Free is the New Zealand Media?

Article pending.

Selected Comments of the Week

I'm delighted at the number of comments this week. They are an essential part of any worthwhile blog. Here are a selection, not necessarily the best, for who can judge that, but sufficiently diverse and controversial to solicit further comment. To make the most of your time on this blog, always check out the comments. Some of the following comments are abbreviated.

What Sort of Democracy Do We Want?
Rather than look back and argue about the relative merits of the democracy we had, wouldn't it be preferable to debate the democracy we all want? I'm deeply concerned that as the months go by, the consultations the regime promised seem to have stalled. Rather than issuing reassuring noises about the delay, the PM has started to signal that ordinary people want the dictatorship to continue beyond 2014. This is totally unacceptable and in breach of every undertaking he's made previously, both to the people of Fiji and the international community. 

My Re-Assessment of the Media Decree

  Crosbie Walsh
On April 12th I published a list of ten items that I took to be people's general concerns about the Draft Media Decree, together with my comment where necessary. To read, click here.
Four months on, the Decree has been promulgated in its final form. The reaction of the international media, then and now, has been almost wholly negative which is not altogether surprising given that the existence of one of their own, the Fiji Times, is threatened. A closer and more open-minded examination of the Decree, however, would show that many of the concerns have been addressed, and for the most part the Decree fills the acknowledged longstanding gap in media regulation in Fiji. Indeed, in some respects, but particularly in its stated aims and code of ethics, the Decree could well be emulated by other countries.
The following discussion compares the ten areas of general concern noted in April with the Decree as it it now stands:

What County X Said About Cuba

Given all the negative publicity about Cuba that  has gone on remorselessly since I was a young man, I couldn't believe my eyes to read that a well-known politician said Cuba had  "world-class credentials in the medical training area" and that his country was thinking of co-operation.  Who was the politician? What else was said?  Click here to dispel some myths about another country that's had to ensure far worse publicity than Fiji.

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.

Learn to Live with It
The Water Authority will make radio announcements as soon as there is a water cut.  I was gonna say, so will FEA when there is an unplanned power failure, but, Ill leave it at that! It is a fact that water cuts will be with us for a while, everybody needs to know and understand this. And store water. We in Waiyavi live out of buckets and bottles of water. There are times even when the water Is on, we use water from bottles and containers instead of the tap, because we have become used to it.  We have learned to live with it. We live our lives around the water cut. It seldom affects us. From recent happenings we should understand that n…

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.

A Larrikin
I believe it’s a very hard part in a  parent’s life when he or she gets a call from a police station or is visited by the police and told that his or her son was involved in something and he had to go down or answer to the police.

Here is something that happened when I was still in primary school. I lived in Wailekutu back in the early seventies and one day while walking home from school this young boy standing up on Kalekana hill threw a stone and us. It hit one of the boys and opened up a huge gash on his forehead. Kalekana was one tough neighbourhood back then.

When the boy returned from the hospital we all went up to the boy's house wi…

Rakiraki a Town, Abuse of Media, Suits for Chiefs, Phone Registration

(o) RAKIRAKI DECLARED A TOWN. Sporadic attempts since 1930 to make Rakiraki a town have finally borne fruit. In making the declaration yesterday, the PM said the new status could mean more economic activities and make the town  "pivotal in the development of the Ra province," especially when the sealing of Kings Highway is completed. This, together with Queens Road that runs from Suva to Lautoka,  will provide a sealed road all round Viti Levu. Rakiraki's population at the 2007 census was 4952, much higher than Tavua and Levuka towns.

(-+) "CHIEF CENSOR FOR FIJI'S DICTATOR".  "A former Fairfax newspaper executive is the chief censor for Fiji's dictator and in charge of his latest crackdown on press freedom."  That's how The Australian reporter Michael McKenna reports an interview with Sharon Smith-Johns, Fiji's Acting Permanent Secretary of Information that was syndicated to other papers.  My "copy" is from the Herald SunTh…

FHL Pay Back, FNPF Pay Out, Echo Before Sound, PINA Split, CCF Wants Transparency Registrar Appointment

ANNIVERSARY. One year ago today I started the Flag counter.  Since then the blog has had  over 37,000  "unique visitors" from 131 countries some of whom visited the site 85,000 times. (-) FIJI LIVE POLLQ: Is the Media Industry Development Decree good for Fiji's media industry? A: Yes  41%; No  59%. I've no idea how many people voted but the question surely should have been, "Is it good for Fiji?"  The media and Fiji are not synonymous, although sometimes one has to wonder. And, hey! I thought all negative reporting was censored.

(o) FAB AND FHL PAY BACK. Twenty-one years ago Government loaned the Fijian Affairs Board   $20 million at no interest to broaden the participation of indigenous Fijians in commerce and business. The FAB put it all in Fijian Holdings Ltd which, n turn, invested the money in a diverse collection of businesses. In 2001 the Qarase government converted the FAB loan to a grant.No money needed to be repaid.

Qarase's family trust hav…

All Good Men

LONG DISTANCE VISION. "Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of the party" and "The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy's dog's back" were two sentences used to teach touch typing.  Somehow the good men who make up the International Federation of Journalists got it all mixed up and jumped on to the wrong lazy dog's back.

Never slow to to criticise events in Fiji, the Federation's latest statement, on the Media Decree, does it and its anonymous informants no credit. The statement is flawed by the errors of fact, inference and exaggeration noted below. One might have hoped that Coupfourpointfive -- run by another group of journalists -- in publishing  the IFJ release, would have picked up its shortcomings before me.

The IFJ's statements follow, with my comments:

1. IFJ.The Decree "permanently installs the sweeping censorship." Me. This would only be true if there were no checks and balances within the Decree (which there a…

Media Decree Outcry Continues

I will discuss the Media Decree more fully later in the week, comparing what many people wanted changed in the draft decree with its final form. Meanwhile, these comments on reports in the foreign media that in my opinion all suggest a prior prejudgment, with some containing errors of fact or interpretation:

REPORTERS WITHOUT BORDERS. "We note, for example, that the law insists that a news organisation’s executives must all be Fijian citizens and must have been resident in Fiji for at least three years. The aim of this is to prevent experienced foreign journalists from being put in charge of the Fiji Times or any other Fijian media."

This is an error in fact. The requirements noted refer to directors and ownership, not to editors or journalists. I am unsure of the status of a managing director or CEO, but there seems no reason why a Fiji citizen cannot fill this position. The quality of journalism would therefore not be affected.

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL states "journalists …

(G) Media Decree: Australian Comments Exaggerated

The reported comments of Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Stephen Smith on Fiji’s Media Industry Development Decree is grossly exaggerated and taken out of context, says the Permanent Secretary for Information, Ms Sharon Smith-Johns.

 The Decree was widely discussed and views of all concerned have been taken on board.

“ It’s most unfair that both News Limited and the Foreign Affairs Minister of Australia, have been selectively highlighting issues, and in the process sensationalizing them.”

The Media decree is huge step forward for the media industry of the country.

“ For the first time we have a legislation that is all encompassing (the media journalists and consumers), it’s actually empowering the people of Fiji in ensuring that their views are heard,” Ms Smith-Johns said.

The new Decree will have a positive impact on the economy, human rights, good governance and access to accurate information.

“In fact we have had encouraging response from the business communitie…

Reactions to Media Decree, Not Disingenuity, Aust PM, Whaleoil Again

FOREIGN MEDIA REACTIONS TO MEDIA DECREE. Predictably these are almost totally hostile, not least from those who, from what they have written, have not even read the Decree. Their main concern has been with the limitation on foreign ownership which could result in the demise of The Fiji Times, owned by Rupert Murdoch's New Ltd.

They chose to ignore that Fiji is not alone in limiting foreign media ownership; the long history of the Fiji Times's misuse of media freedom; and none queried the obscenity of one man owning so much of the world's media and having such power to influence world opinions.  Media ownership is only important to media freedom when ownership is threatened, not when ownership threatens freedom.

Readers are probably correct. News Ltd will continue to mount a campaign against Fiji that will not result into a more conciliatory attitude by the Australian Government.One wonders whether the attack would be less frenzied had the Decree limited foreign ownership t…

(G) Media Decree: Government Release



The Media Industry Development Decree 2010 (“the Decree”) was gazetted by the Government on Friday, 25 June 2010. The commencement date for this Decree has also been issued by the Prime Minister and Minister for Information.

The Decree has commenced with effect from today, Monday, 28 June 2010.

As you are no doubt aware, the Decree was approved by Cabinet earlier this year, and Cabinet also approved for consultations to be held with relevant stakeholders throughout the country. Consultations were held with the media industry and the members of the public in April 2010.

Lawyers Cocktail, Economy Predictions, Corruption Suspected, Advice to Indigenous Business

DON'T MISS WEEKEND POSTINGS:  More rubbish from Tupuola on Fiji military, Women and Poverty, Bainimarama address to Arab League,  Parmesh Chand on Public Sector Reform, Allen Lockington's regular column,  Reserve Bank help to Small Business, Feleti Sevele talks sense, New Aussie PM.

Quote for the Week
Journalists say a thing they know isn't true in the hope that if they go on saying it long enough, it will be true.  Arnold Bennett.

KIDS FLY FREE.  Air Pacific is offering a free return seat for one child accompanied by one adult (two children with mum and dad) for sale up until August 15, and for travel between September 2010 and February 2011. Call your travel agent now. Note: This blog offers free advertising to companies that assist the Fiji economy.

NEW FORMATS FOR COMPANION BLOGS. Your opinions on the new format on this and the companion blog Na Sala Cava would be most welcome. Click Directions icon in right sidebar. I will be publishing a new Na Salan Cava questio…

PM's Address at Arab League-Pacific Island Summit in Abu Dhabi, 25.6.10

Your Highness Sheikh Abduallah bin Zayed  i-Nayhan,
The Secretary General of the Arab League,
Your Excellencies,
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen

As salam wa leikum and bula vinaka as we say in Fiji.

As expressed  by the President of Palau I wish to reiterate my country’s appreciation and gratitude for the kindness, hospitality and warmth shown by the Government of the United Arab Emirates and in particular the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.

I also wish to acknowledge the warmth shown by the members of the Arab league present here today. The World renowned reputation of Arabs looking after their guests, their hospitality, is most definitely most deserved and apt.

More Rubbish from Tupuola Terry Tavita

Military Numbers per 1000 Population: Selected Countries
poreNew ZealandAust
wayFinlandActive0.* 0.599.* Total includes Reservists.    Source: Wikipedia.

AUCKLAND, New Zealand (Pacific Scoop, June 23, 2010) - The deteriorating situation in Fiji is of major concern to the region. Particularly Pacific Island countries with military and para-military services. We could imagine that several commanders in the vast military forces of Papua New Guinea – and to a lesser extent Solomon Islands and Vanuatu and even Tonga – are now eyeing developments in Fiji closely. No doubt it is giving leaders like Sir Michael Somare some sleepless nights. If it could happen in Fiji, why not other Pacific countries with armies of their own? Read more.
What's wrong with Samoa? Once it was Fiji's friendly neighbour but for many months now there have b…