"Return to Sender, Address Unknown": What Some Readers Think
By Crosbie Walsh
A distinctive and most valuable feature of this blog is the comments made by readers. Almost all are politely expressed and informative, irrespective of political viewpoint, and only rarely do I need to block personally insulting, libellous, racist or repetitive comments. Sometimes, to give them more prominence, I publish them on the main page, and occasionally I also use the main page to answer several comments.
This posting does both, first with Sidelines in Viti Levu's comments, and then with a roundup of the phonetapping issue and a further comment in reply to "Fair's Fair" and Wadan's use of Coup4.5 to publish his views that in some ways is a follow on from Sidelines.
On the Sidelines in Viti Levu said...
Dear Croz, When the current military government start being balanced then they will have the right to start demanding better from coup 4.5 but as it stand they are bad as each other.
The problem with silencing everyone is you are left with only those who really scream - that's the crew over at 4.5. A better way for this government to take the attention off 4.5 would be to allow more reasoned voices a platform. Sadly that's a big ask of a military government who have become much too comfortable basking in their own BS and thinking they are the only 'way, truth and light'.
A starting point would be for this government to acknowledge .....
1. Their coup caused massive economic damage that we are only just now recovering from.
2. They made lots of early mistakes including recruiting the FLP leader and putting unionists on boards.
3. They haven't been able to prove corruption like they thought they would.
4. They failed to meet all original commitments and the job of running a county is harder than expected.
1. They have learnt from early mistake
2. Unlike other governments they have taken action on their mistakes
3. Economy is finally coming around and we have tackled hard issues like destructive unions
The Phonetapping issue
Readers will remember I raised this issue because of Ratu Mara's allegations on RadioNZ International. He said the internet and phones including mobiles were being tapped, Vodafone was the main culprit and Vodafone CEO Aslam Khan was a "close associate" of Bainimarama. Vodafone replied that it did not "have the technological capability to allow mobile phones to be tapped or intercepted, and the military had never has access to Vodafone property. Khan denied any special relationship with Bainimarama.
Are you listening? said the technology could be installed without the knowledge of Vodafone employees. Be Careful said government would want to have the ability to tap phones. Thor Rules said that in 2006 IT experts from India had tried to track and block the anti-government blogs, even though Vodafone and Telecom would deny it. All the World said that in 2006 he'd received a call from Europe that the Chinese were intercepting phone messages. Fracias said tapping technology was easy to obtain and inexpensive. Are you listening added that hardware to monitor individual numbers costing only $500 existed in Fiji. He doubted Fiji's capacity to monitor all phones. A retired Telecom engineer said neither Vodafone nor Telecom has the technology. He was unsure about Digicel. And Monitor rounded it all up by telling me "If you believe RFMF don't tap phones and monitor the internet you are a greater fool than I thought."
For the record, I had never mentioned the RFMF nor had I denied Fiji's potential capacity. I had merely published the Vodafone response. I would add that most people commenting did not respond to Ratu Mara's claim; they did distinguish between phones and mobiles; they did not claim any special technological knowledge; and most confined themselves to Vodafone's potential, that was never denied.
It is its installation and use that Vodafone denies, while pointing to parliamentary acts in both Australia and NZ that give the police the authority to tap phones. Readers did not comment on these police powers presumably because they trust the overseas police but not their counterparts in Fiji where, significantly, such legislation does not exist.
Wadan and Coup4.5
Fair's Fair thought I was unfair in criticising Wadan Narsey's use of Coup 4.5 because of its large readership. He said Wadan, and those writing to Coup4.5, were frustrated because they could not get their ideas published in Fiji. He said it was all right for me at home enjoying my hobby (sic!). No wonder, he said, I could afford to be "detached and aloof" to the whole situation. I should understand that Wadan's personal attacks and Coup4.5's publication of personal attacks, racist statements and virtual calls to arms were a consequence of this frustration.
He has a point, of course, and I can empathise up to that point, but Wadan could have published in the overseas mainstream media and moderate blogs had he refrained from libel and personal attacks, and the Coup4.5 editors could, if they chose, not write or allow comments that are libellous, racist and inflammatory. They set a poor example for a return to responsible journalism.
Frustration is an insufficient cause or explanation in journalism and politics, just as it is as an insufficient excuse in law. Wadan's articles used to be published in Fiji. I think they stopped because they were constantly negative and critical of government and increasingly polemic.His more recent writings include much that is nasty and vindictive. No reputable media outlet would publish material like this. I look forward to the day when he writes balanced articles on important economic issues, articles that show not only what is wrong (that is the easy part) but also how it can be put right
Meanwhile, I suppose we'll just keep talking past each other— return to sender, address unknown.
Return to Sender, Address Unknown
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