The Times They are A-Changing: Let's Keep it That Way

Fiji Times's publication of these comments by Mick Beddoes provides further evidence that the lifting of PER has resulted in the lifting of media censorship. But before we get too excited, we should acknowledge that the situation is delicate and can easily be reversed. For media freedom to be maintained —and dialogue increased—  criticism and suggestions will need to be reasonable, helpful and devoid of self-interest, and government will need to listen to what is being said. Considerable statesmanship will be required over the next few months as Fiji adjusts to the post-PER situation. Knee-jerk reactions must be avoided.   I am unsure whether Mick Beddoes' comments meet the needed criteria but if they do not, Government should shrug them off .

Public Order Act nullifies goodwill, says Beddoes
Ioane Burese
Monday, January 16, 2012

FORMER Opposition Leader Mick Beddoes says it is most unfortunate and a disappointing let-down for the people when the regime decided to re-impose restrictions on their short lived hopes and freedom through amendments' to the Public Order Act, effectively nullifying all the goodwill created by their initial decision to remove the PER.

In a statement, Mr Beddoes said in support of the government's move, he was about to write to the leaders of Australia and New Zealand to call on them to lift some restrictions and demonstrate a similar positive response to the government's welcomed move.

However, he said as grateful as he was with the decision to lift the PER, he was not that confident that the desirable level of sincerity was there, so he held off on the letters to see what would happen.

Mr Beddoes said his reading of the government's decision to re-impose restrictions on the people through amendments to the Public Order Act "is more about a lack of confidence of its ability to govern the people in an open and totally free society".


Cicero said…
With respect to Mr Mick Beddoes and his statement on the Public Order Act Amendment Decree (2012), it does suggest that there is little comprehension of the extent of serious organised crime which exists in Fiji. Transnational crimes which are experienced within Fiji are approaching a status which cannot be confronted without significant public support and co-operation. In Colonial times, it was considered necessary to have a binding and enforceable act but it did not define 'Terrorism'. In our view, terrorism has been experienced in Fiji and all the requisite and attached criminal undertakings (bomb-making and arms trafficking) How does Mr Beddoes suggest that this is to be confronted? We have lost five years already. Add on: Cyber-crime and Biological Terrorism. All pose realistic threats particularly to the unaware and under-informed.

In 2007 no one in a position of responsibility paid any heed to the efforts made to address Trafficking in Persons. Even the local media were half-hearted in response. This has continued with regard to Home Invasions and even organised murder. People have not been prepared to come forward with evidence even though it is suspected (or known that they witnessed the event). No nation may function with such impunity in place for long. Not now; not in the second decade of the 21st century.

The State of Israel has just made public acts of "Cyber Terrorism" waged against its Stock Exchange and its national airline El Al within the past two days. They say that the attack has come from people based within Saudi Arabia. They face existential risk and they are smart enough to know they do. They also have the capacity to deter future risks and they make plain they will. Whatever it takes.

Fiji is required to act likewise (with no nuclear deterrent).The risks national integrity even to sovereignty are real from Transnational Criminal Enterprise. Our close and regional neighbours have every interest in our addressing them with alacrity and they are assisting.

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