Burying a Blogger: Uneven Corruption Reporting
The Pot Calling the Kettle black: Coup 4.5 Shames the Concept of Democracy and a Fair and Just media
Thakur Ranjit Singh
[Ed. The author's comments are of special interest because they show how selective non-reporting helps to distance the former SDL government from the corruption of which it was an essential part.]
The following response was posted by yours truly on the blogger comments form of the SDL site, Coup 4.5 blog on 19 March, 2011. This was just days after those found guilty in the Agriculture Scam court case were convicted and jailed:
“The partisan Coup 4.5 has failed to report on jailing of the fall guys of Qarase's corrupt regime. Bhikha and one other civil servant, just like the other fall guy, Permanent Secretary of Agriculture, Peniasi Kunatuba, have been jailed. SDL Ministers Tora and Rigamoto have also been named to have benefitted from Qarase’s corrupt means of winning Fijian votes.
Coup 4.5 claims to support democracy but manipulates news so that news putting the racist Qarase regime in bad picture are systematically “censored" or shoved in the editorial trash bin. Why cannot you publish things on the thieving SDL and how they won the election by using farm implements and public funds? Go ahead, make my day punk, and publish this.”
Publish it did not. This comment was trashed, and thrown in the rubbish bin of the unnamed “editors’. They masquerade as champions of democracy, that until Bainimarama’s coup in 2006 was considered a “foreign flower in Fijian soil” by the hangers on the ethno-nationalist Qarase’s Party, the SDL. I did not pursue it because it was an exercise in futility as those hiding behind the sham of a supposedly promoter of freedom, democracy and a free media, were the flotsam and jetsam of those who had been offloaded from the indigenous gravy train by Bainimarama. Now they are venting their hatred and ethno-nationalism against their own indigenous Fijians who dared to go on the “other” side. However the strongest and most pungent comments are reserved for a few Indo-Fijians who dared to serve in Bainimarama’s government.
Going back to the story on Suncourt’s Bhikha conviction, the court case exposed the extent of corrupt practices and revealed that Qarase’s Ministers Tora and Rigamoto had also gained from the “loot” of supposedly affirmative actions, dished out to buy votes. What Coup 4.5 also failed to report was that all the top guns in SDL had their fingers in the “gravy”. What did not surprise me was the complete absence of this news or any mention of this in the blogsite, lest it tarnished the supposedly clean shawl of Qarase’s “democratically elected government” that they wished restored in Fiji.
I wonder why the hero of this site, Victor Lal, who did a grand investigative report on Chaudhry’s tax evasion had hitherto has been unable to provide any revelations on any indigenous Fijians from the SDL camp who stole from people of Fiji and ended up ruling as a ‘democratically elected government’.
Fiji’s election had been far from fair, and interference by the Methodist Church and Chiefs further eroded the principle of democracy that we understand here. That is what the so called crusaders of democracy in Australia and New Zealand and their respective governments fail to realise - that supposedly democratic elections in Fiji were far from just and fair and Fiji’s democracy under Qarase failed to deliver social justice to all its citizens. I know, because as an Indo Fijian I was at the receiving end of atrocities committed under the sham of democracy and indigenous superiority.
However, Coup 4.5, the mouthpiece of Qarase’s SDL, which has been trying to establish itself as a credible blogsite has been struggling to play the game fairly. There have been numerous instances when they have been found wanting, in fact hypocritical. While championing the cause of democracy, they abuse media principles and indulge in selective reporting, censorship, misleading reports and hiding behind anonymity where people are unaware of the editors or key players. While we can guess who they are, I pray none are from AUT where I have studied. It will be a shock to see any AUT media graduates being part of this shady media sham.
The hypocrisy of Coup 4.5 stands out like a sore thumb. This is what they reported on Wednesday April 13 under the heading:
“Fiji Times dodges coverage of its publisher being convicted of manipulating sale of clock
What should a newspaper do when its publisher is found guilty of abuse of office? Move on, it seems. We may have to give the Fiji Times the benefit of the doubt (that it's marking time) but it's noticeable it hasn't covered one of the biggies of the week - the conviction of its publisher Mahendra Patel.
Patel has been found guilty, along with Tevita Peni Mau, of approving the purchase of a $75,000 Seiko clock from Prouds Fiji Ltd without following proper tender procedures. Prouds is owned by Patel's Motibhai & Company Ltd.”
Well and good, they did clarify later that the Fiji Times had published a story about the conviction. At least they (the Fiji Times) had done that while Coup 4.5 failed to report anything on the biggies of the week a month ago, when the Suncourt Director, who helped Qarase win the election through the Agriculture scam, was convicted and jailed.
Coup 4.5 has no credibility as that is reflected in its double standards and hypocrisy where they jump on the Fiji Times for dereliction of media ethics while it (Coup 4.5) itself has been master in deceit, double standards and indulging in inciteful and selective reporting. They should either learn to walk their talk or just shut up. They have lost all moral rights to point a finger at the Fiji Times for doing exactly what they had done in not reporting the Agriculture Scam court case news item.
Their double-standards were further amplified by the fact that just hours after jailing of Patel and Mau on 14 March 2011, this news item was posted on their website. But it is almost a month ago when the Agricultural Scam criminals were jailed, but not even a muffled whisper of that on Coup 4.5.