Prasad says Media must Help Fiji to Heal

The news media has an important role to play in uniting a fractured nation such as Fiji, says economist and academic Dr Biman Prasad.

“Media needs to become a force for unity – not disunity as we have sometimes seen in the past,” he said, speaking at a recent Lions Club dinner.

Dr Prasad stressed that a real start to a stronger nation could only be achieved once media censorship and the public emergency regulations were lifted. This, however, came with responsibility, he said.

“While it is important that we have a free media, it is equally important for the media to get a proper grasp of its role and responsibility in a developing, multiethnicnation such as Fiji.”

Dr Prasad, who is also dean of the University of the South Pacific’s Faculty of Business and Economics, said dialogue with different groups and political parties in Fiji and its international partners could do much in encouraging stability.

“The sugar industry is on the verge of collapse, the construction industry is down and other export sectors are not doing well,” he said.

Actual earnings uncertain
“While tourism numbers are picking up, the actual earnings have not been commensurate with numbers.”

Since the first two coups in 1987, more than 100,000 Fiji citizens have left with their experience, skills and savings and recent trends show that this is continuing.

Dr Prasad added the economy would take years to recover. “We as a nation need to understand that economies are built on some fundamental principles,” he said. He added that confidence about security, laws, economic policies, certainty and expectation of the future would determine how people behaved in an economy.

Good governance was a must and all stakeholders needed to be involved in achieving any of its sustainable outcomes and reforms, he said.

Koila Valemei is a student journalist on the University of the South Pacific’s journalism newspaper Wansolwara.


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