Mara bans media from recording community meeting

Thu, 21 Jul 2011 9:20p.m.
By Lloyd Burr NZTV3 News
videoFiji’s runaway military chief Ratu Tevita Mara invited the media to a community function tonight then banned them from asking or recording anything.
Mr Mara organised the function to allow Fijians living in New Zealand to ask him questions about his former boss, Commodore Frank Bainimarama’s regime in Fiji.
But on arrival, members of the media, including 3 News, were informed that a recording ban was in place and they could only sit in on the meeting.

Media were also told they could not ask questions if they stayed for the meeting.
Earlier today, at another meeting, Mr Mara condemned media censorship.
“With the media censorship in Fiji, nothing is getting out and the international community does not know anything about what he is doing,” he said.
Mr Mara’s spokesperson, Pro-Democracy Movement president Sai Lelea, also said that he “would like to acknowledge the role the press plays in a free, democratic society”.
But this evening, the press was banned from playing any role in reporting the voices of those Fijians in New Zealand concerned about the military regime back home.
The reason for the ban was to protect the identities of those who turned up so they wouldn’t be blacklisted by the Fijian Government.
Mr Lelea said Fijian people living in New Zealand were scared of being identified because if what they said got back to Mr Bainimarama, they might not be allowed back into Fiji.
The meeting is just one of many this week for Mr Mara, who met earlier today with officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
He wouldn’t say what occurred in the meeting or if there was any outcome.
Mr Mara also meets with the Maori Party tomorrow.
He will head back to Tonga before making his way around the Pacific to garner support against Mr Bainimarama’s regime.
3 News


Anonymous said…
So tat makes fiji's censorship ok then ?
Too frightened to give my name said…
This story says more about the regime than Mara.

He banned the media on the advice of the organizers after a number of attendees were going to leave when they realized there was a possibility of being filmed.

Even Fijians overseas are frightened of being seen to be anit regime. They are frightened about what happens when they return and they are frightened what happens to their families still in Fiji.

This is the regime you support Croz. A regime that runs on fear.

It may have had good intentions but tell me what good results have ever come from a regime running a country on fear
jambalaya said…
Ironic or hypocritical?
RUM complains of media censorship in Fiji, then goes ahead and muzzles the NZ media in their own backyard.

This pathetic excuse of protection of identity rings hollow, because there is such things called masks, balaclavas etc.
Wrong boot on wrong foot said…
Excuse me, but those who support the regime in Australia and NZ are the ones who get vilified by the miserable SDL types who've made their homes here. If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen kiddies!
Cicero said…
It is true that regime's that are fear driven can never survive indefinitely. That is the lesson of the Soviet Gulag and the Chinese style of governance under Chairman Mao and since. "You will never bomb us into silence" - the Norway PM was quoted today after what appears to be a terrorist attack on his country in two locations.

But silence is a product of fear. A Culture of Silence is rooted in fear. Can a democracy ever be based in a fearful population no matter how often they may turn out to vote? Neither Australia nor New Zealand have seriously considered this, we must deduce.
Islands in the Stream said…
@ Too frightened to give my name.....

In a wonderful new book "Dancing with Darkness" Life, Death and Hope in Afghanistan, the author and publisher, Magsie Hamilton Little writes about her two visits to Afghanistan since the terror attack on London in 2005.

When moving about in Kabul and in the countryside Ms Hamilton Little was obliged to wear a 'burka'. She describes in detail the attributes of the burka: how it gave a sense of safety and security, of anonymity - not always borne out by events. Women wearing burka are frequently bombed all over Afghanistan: that is how terror works. They also perpetrate suicide bombings under the orders of others.

The book is "not about the war in Afghanistan, but about friendship and loss, and, above all, about freedom."
Official Registrar said…
Is Mara still on the VKB - Vola ni kawa bula?

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