Radio NZ International's Dirty Trick

 RadioNZI persists, despite denials, that the Fiji Government is phonetapping, and has now pushed the accusation to a new level by repeating Ratu Tevita's claim about phonetapping in 2007 (sic!);  by citing unionist "Mr Urai, who was released on bail last week (who said he'd) "heard from a government minister that a team in the military works full time on tracing calls";  by citing "an associate professor for Information Science at the University of Otago, Hank Wolfe, (who) says it’s not difficult for phone companies to tap into phone calls; and by accusing Vodafone Fiji of "leak(ing) emails to a blogger" — me.

I am not going to comment further on the phone tapping accusation, having already published comments for and against, and I personally do not have the expertise to comment further. But I do wish to comment on the "me" in the RNZI story to show how slanted that part of the story is, and to illustrate how biased their stories often are. 

RadioNZI's Bridget Tunnicliffe rang me yesterday morning. She asked where I had obtained the emails and told me RNZI had not received the Vodafone emails I'd published. I said I would amend my report to this effect. I also agreed that her more recent question to Vodafone deserved a fuller reply. 

This is what she published on the conversation:
"It (Vodafone) says client confidentiality is a priority for the company, yet questions sent by Radio New Zealand International in emails to Vodafone about the issue, have appeared on a blogsite, including supposed responses from Vodafone, which were never received by Radio New Zealand International. The blogsite operator, Crosbie Walsh, says he received the private emails from Vodafone. Vodafone has refused to say  (my emphasis) why it has sent emails to a blogger."
I never said the emails were private. These are her words,  but the first question must be: what is private and what is in the public domain? There was nothing secret in her questions or Vodafone's reply. Indeed, both questions and answers have subsequently been published or used by RNZI.  She did not ask me whether our phone conversation was private or in the public domain? She never asked  whether she could publish what I said. And if I assumed she would (as she did), why should she assume Vodafone would not?

The second question must be how Vodafone is breaking client confidentiality by sending me copies of an email exchange.  I am not a Vodafone client, and there was nothing confidential in the exchange.  If Vodafone decided to forward the exchange to me, that is their privilege. It could have been seen as a way to keep RadioNZI honest!

The third question is why Hank Wolfe is "an associate professor for Information Science" while I am a  "blogger" and not even a Mr? Why am I not a "regular commentator on Fiji" or even an "expert"? Afterall, my blog is far more balanced and researched than most other blogs, and I have nearly 50 years Pacific experience? I am also an Adjunct Professor at the University of the South Pacific where I held a personal chair in Development Geography until my retirement. Why is Prof Wolfe a professor while I am a .... blogger? Are Prof Wolfe's opinions on IT worth more than mine on modern Fiji?  I suspect the word "blogger" was used to smear Vodafone and detract from what I have to say?

And finally, the fourth question, why is a blog necessarily a less reliable source of information and comment than the taxpayer-funded RadioNZ International? My blog is far more "balanced" and informed than most of the stories they publish on Fiji.

I asked Bridget about the lack of balance in their coverage on Fiji. She "refused to say" (my emphasis) and — referred me to the News Editor.

WEEKEND READING. • Allen Lockington Column • When is an Indian not an Indian: an Old-New Story  • If This is True, Government Credibility Demands ... • Thesis on the Fiji Times Coverage of the Year May 1999 to May 2000.


Proud Fijian said…
Good on you Croz.

The media in New Zealand is currently under attack for its loss of ethical standards.

The 'tea cup' fiasco of John Key and Banks has much to say about how media in New Zealand works. Ethics out the window and push the legal limits.

Now the matter is in the High Court to decide.

Shame on RNZI.
Charles Singh said…
RNZI and Brigit are a joke.

Brigit, in a tiff,sanctimoniously demands answers to why Vodafone Fiji has not responded to her questions, and why it responded through a "blogger".

When Brigit, in turn, is asked to respond about RNZI's unbalanced Fiji reporting, she does a Vodafone Fiji, and refers Walsh to her news editor!

Isn't this a case of the pot calling the kettle black?

Typical of the hypocrisy we have seen from RNZI and its reporters.

Clearly Vodafone Fiji has more faith in a blogger than in RNZI, which has a history of skewed and screwed reporting on Fiji.

Crosbie has more Fiji knowledge and experience at every level than the entire RNZI newsroom put together, including the news editor.

But RNZI has opted to ostracise and discriminate him, while taking the upper moral ground and claiming to be fair and balanced.

RNZI should invite Crosbie to do a workshop for them on Fiji.

We might then see some better reporting from them.
jambalaya said…
If the act of intercepting phone calls was morally repugnant and distasteful for Radio NZ, it would have been ethically correct and honest to start in their own backyard and investigate/ mud rake GCSB Waihopai which is far more intrusive and exceedingly widespread than this speck of an allegation.

It is rather ironic to say the least, that Radio NZ would even place credence in Rt. Tevita Mara's flimsy allegations; yet not even place scrutiny on his unfounded and unsubstantiated 'fishing expedition' cum escape with 'secret documents' from Fiji.

On another aspect of double standards, Radio NZ quite regularly parrots the contents of other blogs as fact and dismisses other cogent observer's viewpoint; that do NOT exactly fit with their preconceived notions.

This under hand practice by Radio NZ is unbridled yellow journalism. A more sinister reality, is that this insidious practice is a derived form of Operation Mockingbird.

None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Falsely and Foolishly we believe ourselves to be Free? said…
@ Goethe and "falsely believe they are free"....

Let us add 'foolishly' to Goethe's statement. We have undertaken a "March of Folly" in Fiji since 1987. It was fomenting prior to 1987. All the machinations and Machiavellian/Faustian arrangements were arrived at on 'Taxpayers' Time' and without the concurrence of most who were actually paying for them. Now, in the modern world of economic discipline "21st century APP" this kind of arrangement may not, will not survive. It will end in sorrowm tears and gnashing of teeth. Viz Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Italy, next Spain. Taxpayers Inc will never indefinitely subscribe to an ongoing 'arrangement' for bail-outs. Fiji is no different. Our situation is not dissimilar. We simply believe ourselves to be different (erroneously). Logically, rationally we MUST know that we are not?
observer said…
"why Hank Wolfe is "an associate professor for Information Science" while I am a "blogger" and not even a Mr? Why am I not a "regular commentator on Fiji" or even an "expert"?"

lol...are you craving for some ego massaging Croz?

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