Thesis on the Fiji Times Coverage of May 1999-May 2000: the FLP Government and the Speight Coup:

Read this abstract first, coutesy of AUT's Pacific Media Centre .

Bula friends,

My thesis on analysis of the Fiji Times during one year rule of Chaudhry (May 1999 – May 2000) is now complete and available online. It is titled: The 2000 Speight coup in Fiji: An analysis of the role of The Fiji Times and the impact of partisan media.

The e-copy of the thesis is now available in the AUT Library's Scholarly Commons:



Anonymous said…
Well researched and written, deserving of a Masters (Hons).

So much for a free and fair Press in Fiji. The research shows that the Fiji Times under Hunter and Netani Rika etc were clearly anti-MPC and his coalition government. The Fiji Times was, undeniably, part of the forces that worked in tandem with the ethno-nationalist agenda to topple a democractically elecetd government.

The Fiji Times must now be considered alongside the Methodist Church, Great of Chiefs (Thieves) and others as being a destabilising influence in Fiji politics, and especially in the events leading up to 2000.

Now we see the truth in Bainimarama's words that Netani Rika was a threat to national security.
Anonymous said…
Read about Margaret Wise not being wise in promoting her own agenda,with editorial blessing, interviewing phantoms to inflame racism in Fiji during the Rabuka/Speight era. The Fiji Times cannot escape culpability for the destruction of democracy in Fiji. Initially, it was the bastion of the colonists, promoting their interests but depicting itself as great defenders of the iTaukei and pummelling Indo-Fijians at every turn. Len Usher, the editor, was the face of ugly racism in Fiji and under him he sired a troop of reporters who kept writing articles that were discreetly disparaging of Indo-Fijian people. Yet, it derived most of its income from Indo-Fijians through advertisements and readership that outweighed others. If only Indo-Fijian leaders had united and targeted Fiji Times and asked for its boycott, Fiji Times would have been history. So much for the calibre, vision and wisdom of Indo-Fijain leaders. When leaders can't protect, promote or defend the respect and dignity of their own community, they are not leaders but opportunitists. The Fiji Times owes an apology to the nation for its part in destroying democracy in Fiji.
Islands in the Stream said…
@ The culpability of the Fiji Times under sway of Hannah and Rika, its board of directors and so much else ......

While watching the unsavoury James Murdoch sitting for a the second time, alone, in front of a Parliamentary Committee in London, wanly appealing to the Chair for relief when caught out, again, about his failure to know what his staff at the washed-up News of the World newspaper were up to, it dawned upon one: Is there such a thing as 'Terminal Depravity' - and was this on view, for all the world to see? The Hannah Arendt 'Banality of Evil' exposed?

A failure of duty and responsibility which was now finally found out? A failure of the responsible use of power and authority in a powerful medium? The Fourth Estate - perhaps the most powerful in the entire world for the propagation of good or - as experienced in the Fiji Times under the aegis of News Limited from 1999 on - for the dissemination of evil.

Evil smells. Its odour is rank and all pervasive. It coats and corrodes everyone who fails to take a stand to resist it. Sad, bad that the Murdoch Empire enshrined in Fiji lodged within its embrace human beings who propagated racism through political means. Their fellow travellers happily plied their trade, their convictions seemingly unchallenged in any visible way. When attempts to do this were made, they were ERASED from the record. As though they had never been written? Persistance was fruitless. They were the Judge and Jury - FULL STOP.

What a fearful, frightful legacy! At the turn of the 21st century,
20th century methods of extermination were deployed to rub out dissenting views, to turn a blind eye to serious organised crime and to encourage extremist and racist ideology.

We now await the Australian taxpayer-funded theses explaining these aberrations and hideous errors of professional journalism. No effort should be wasted in this endeavour. Too many years have already been dissipated in suffering and loss. The core topic should be this:


A Parity of Esteem is the phrase coined by Irish journalist Kevin Myer and applied by him to his own 'troubled' homeland.
Anonymous said…
Great thesis Thakur. It puts into perspective why the media in Fiji is in such a sorry state today: if you abuse your freedom, you will lose it.

There was gross abuse of power by Russell Hunter, Netani Rika and their underling, Margaret Wise.

All three had an axe to grind against Mahendra Chaudhry, and boy, did Hunter and Rika send Margaret Wise after Chaudhry with a sharpened axe!

That both Rika and Hunter encouraged skirt journalism is quite clear from this thesis.

How shameful of them. And they have the bloody nerve to pontificate to the rest of us about ethics and play the victim on the international stage after doing so much damage in Fiji by their unethical actions.

Hunter and Rika's cunning knows no bounds. Thakur has done well to expose these hypocrites.

A divisive and dangerous figure like Hunter should never be allowed back in the country.
Anonymous said…
Freedom of the media is the cry the universal cry, largely promoted by the media itself. With freedom there is responsibility and accountability and if the media fails in being responsible and accountable then it becomes the duty of every government to curtail its freedom and rights in the interest of the nation. Fiji Times had a free run and it conspired and connived with successive governments, except for Bavadra/Chaudhary govts, to keep the nation divided because it suited its agenda. Even Ratu Mara, in the 1960s commented that Fiji Times was racist in its approach but largely it caused great pain and suffering to Indo-Fijians. Did it ever write with empathy about their plight when village after village was emptied through needless eviction of Indo-Fijian tenants? Never! It was in a powerful position to do so but how could the leopard change its spots. It remained true to its course in doing everything to destroy innocent lives.
@ Islands in the Stream...

The Fiji Times in 1999 was led by Editor in Chief Russell Hunter - Deputy Chair of Crimestoppers Fiji under James Datta. Yet, Mr Hunter repeatedly and over a sustained period of time refused to entertain any correspondence which referred to serious crimes of violence: Crimes Against Humanity in fact. The plight of the Muaniweni Internally Displaced people, the violent demands for toll payments on the Queen's Highway and in other areas by groups of menacing reprobate, rebellious 'landowners', terrorist home invasions by large masked gangs, even murders were all rejected by Hunter and Rika when referred to in Letters to the Editor. Even in personal letters.

We must ask in all reason, WHY? Now they shall be held to account for this disgraceful omission to stand up for the truth of a situation notwithstanding their own biases (which will hardly pass close scrutiny).

Even the late James Datta was witnessed in Nadi in a Crimestoppers Meeting telling all present in January 2009 "Murder is not the business of Crimestoppers". Oh no? Some of us beg to differ (and he was told so also before witnesses) and we have persistently differed and will continue to do so. Criminal behaviour, whether it be conducted for political purposes or at the behest of Organised Crime is always to be treated with seriousness. People who 'play act' in positions of high responsibility whether remunerated or not by the State or by any other organisation, play with fire when they abdicate responsibility in such a high-handed and unethical manner. Let all serving Police Officers, paid by public money, take heed.

We should not speak ill of the dead? Not a maxim we subscribe to. Those who have 'passed on' have not 'passed' on their responsibility. They now answer to a Higher Power. Those who remain, shall answer also. We are here and waiting for their justification of their action and their inaction. And they were told so, in writing, at least ten years ago on more than one occasion. The letters remain. They are catalogued and sought by at least two institutions. Mr Russell Hunter, Mr Evan Hannah, Mr Netani Rika and your obedient servant, Margaret Wise: we wait to hear from you?
The Torrents of Spring said…
A Day of Reckoning now beckons for the Publishers of all the newspapers and related Media in Fiji and for the members of the Media Council who sat in on this fiasco of omissions. Is this why John Hartigan so recently resigned as Chair of News Limited? Was he pushed? Or did he just bail out?

Not a pretty sight watching James Murdoch so focused and so cool under claims of alleged Mafia connections? But, organised crime was already organised in Fiji when the Letters to the Editor were so severely manipulated.

Do tell us, please, how you plan to make light of this. Do tell us also how you are deciding to abdicate upon your responsibilities to an entire nation in disarray since May 19 2000? Hundreds of people internally displaced and thousands upon thousands obliged to leave for elsewhere. Some have benefitted undoubtedly from leaving their homes and their comfort zones: others have patently not. All have suffered immeasurably.

This now uncovered Landscape of Havoc so deeply embedded in a Culture of Silence will turn into the Torrents of Spring. Pace Turgenev - the time for admission of culpability is arriving. Nothing less than a Judicial Tribunal will suffice and the power to insist upon reparations.
Anonymous said…
This thesis by Thakur is to be commended on many fronts. For at least one; it exposes the hypocrisy of Waden Narsey's scatter-gun approach in his 'Culture of Silence' complaint that he published on C4.5 and which Croz republished here. Waden was quick to shoot from the hip in an irresponsible attempt at naming and shaming all in Fiji who have remained silent (they have a right to remain silent).

Interestingly, Waden laid not one word of complaint against the Fiji Times for the destabiling role it played in 2000 right up to the time Netani Rika was kicked out and Margaret Wise (the 'skirt journalist') was marginalised from political reporting.

Netani Rika, Russell Hunter, Margaret Wise et al now have no credibility as journalists. Waden too has lost credibility for his selective outrage against the rest of us plebians whilst ignoring the bigger drama that was being mischeviously played out in the Editors office.
Proud Fijian said…
MP Tom Watson calls News of the World run by Murdoch as a Mafia
Proud Fijian said…
The News of the World run by Murdoch and previous owner of Fiji Times has a lot to answer for. Not only in England but also here in Fiji.

A lot more will come out in the next 12 months. It's quite likely that James Murdoch could face criminal charges. How could his organization pay a settlement of $700,000 and he not know about it. His Editors and legal officers testified that they told him.

Lucky for Fiji that they have been removed.

I remember postings on here about the Murdoch's avenging their being
pushed out from Fiji. The truth does eventually come out.

Good on you Mr Singh - you're brave!
@ PROUD FIJIAN and Thakur Ranjit Singh - The Brave!

At the end of his 289 page thesis (which we have printed out today and bound), Thakur Ranjit Singh tells us that:

"This author habours a wish to carry this research forward with a doctoral thesis in this subject area, given appropriate opportunities and resources".

The opportunity and the resources should be made available forthwith. This is and will be a service not only to the nation of Fiji but also to the entire region. It will provide the comfort of knowing that we were not mistaken in our belief that we were being hoodwinked by a Clique of Conniving Conspirators at the Fiji Times: deadly, destructive, lying and lewd like the hordes surrounding Parliament in May to July 2000. The 'underclass' made manifest, rioting at will for 56 long days and nights.

The late John Scott confided that he was threatened and afraid. He said this only ten days before being hacked to death by a 'tevoro' or 'Horror of the shade' unknown. He made it clear that in July 2001 he was more afraid than in 2000 because he was being visited daily and threatened not to give evidence.

If anyone at the Fiji Times now or then believes that we shall abdicate on our duty and responsibility to redress that attack upon John Scott, you are quite mistaken. Like the witnesses now in Cambodia, we shall front up be it ten, twenty or thirty years on.

To Thakur Ranjit Singh and to the late John Scott of the Fiji Red Cross, we dedicate the verses below:

INVICTUS (Unbowed)

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

(William Ernest Benley 1849 - 1903)

The Fiji Times newspaper, its former owners, editors and staff had better get used to the idea: our heads are bloody, but unbowed. Just as the actor Hugh Grant has had the courage to give evidence today in London about the "shocking" hacking of his mobile phone, we too shall give evidence which is now reinforced by a Master Thesis. The deaths, the land and home invasions and the forced emigrations shall ultimately be avenged. You will be made to confront your pasts in the forum of Public Opinion. There will be no escape. The tide has turned and all your pasts shall, eventually, catch you up
@ Anonymous

By the way: on the right to remain silent. Have no fear, there will be no silence from this quarter. All the names, all the circumstances, all the letters and more much more will be scrupulously prepared for exposure. The chronology is etched on the mind. The murdered men and women have living relatives. The Court Processes are still clearly recollected.

"It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll.
I am the master of my fate;
I am the captain of my soul".

From the book "Playing the Enemy" by John Carlin
Acting Innocent... said…
A world-wide campaign is underway over the Internet to have James Murdoch removed as Chairman of BSkyB on the grounds that many pension funds and investors might be connected to him through shares invested in News Corporation or BSkyB on their behalf.

This is still a source of amazement. That in Fiji we did something about the ownership of the Fiji Times long before it became evident elsewhere that things were running out of control within the Murdoch Empire and the 'Dogs of War' (Mobile Phone Hackers and Private Investigators)allegedly let-loose on an unsuspecting public. These hackers and investigators were paid by the News of the World.

Surely, we do not believe that the former so-called 'elected' Fiji governments would have achieved this? They were in bed 'with this'! They know they were and they are still acting innocent! None of them has anything to add, it must be noted.

What could they possibly say?
Anonymous said…
The Fiji Times had become used to committing excesses in Fiji. Those running the paper become drunk with power and a law unto themselves.

Messrs Hunter, Rika and Margret Wise while plotting against the Chaudhry government never in their wildest dreams imagined that the army, a Fijian institution, would one-day stage a coup against a Fijian government. They thought their conduct would never come under scrutiny. They would get away scot free.

In Fiji media circles there is acknowledgement that Hunter used his position at the Fiji Times to orchestrate Chaudhry's downfall but is spoken in hushed terms since the Fiji media does not want to shoot itself in the foot. Luckily scholars like Mr Thakus Ranjit Singh are not bound by this code of silence.

Hunter is a good example of an arrogant expat who thinks he can play God in a third-world country and get away with anything because the country does not have the capacity to expose people like him. He was wrong. Thakur's thesis has exposed the cheap, skirt journalism Fiji Times engaged in under him and the church-going Netani Rika's watch.

Thank you Russell Hunter, Netani Rika and Margerat Wise for the utter destruction of whatever little credibility Fiji Times had.

History will remember you for prostituting the Fiji Times and turning a blind eye to skirt journalism.

Popular posts from this blog

Lessons from Africa

The Ratu Tevita Saga, Coup4.5, Michael Field, the ANU Duo, and Tonga