Blowing on the Embers of Old Fires: Media and Academic Freedom and Responsibility

Australian Dr Matthew Thompson

        Opinion by Croz Walsh*

In less than 80 days Fiji goes to the polls in its first election for eight years. The regime's opponents and the media have more freedom now than at any time since 2009. Institutions and arrangements, including overseas observers, are being put place to protect the integrity of the elections, and to protect the media —the public from the media and the media from itself. The military presence is minimal.

So why now do we have the Australian media questioning Brig.Gen. Mosese Tikoitoga about alleged abuses of power seven years ago; the political opposition distorting and exaggerating what he said, and a recently arrived USP journalism educator full of righteous hyperbole over supposed and ongoing torture? 

For the Australian media, I suspect a large part of their reason is to retaining reader and viewer interest with sensational stories. For some perverse reason, the general public is often more interested in what is wrong than in what is going well. I hardly think the Sun, Herald and the ABC could give a toss about what it happening in Fiji, or its possible outcomes.  They are after a good story.


For the opposition, anything that discredits the government is ammunition.

For Dr Matthew Thompson, the USP academic, I suspect it is as much or more about  building his personal reputation as a crusader for freedom, a useful coda for his next book, than about freedoms in Fiji.  If I am wrong, I apologize, but his biography (see below) suggests this is likely.

The Opposition's Reactions

The Opposition blog Fiji Today claimed "Government Lawyers force Mosese Tikoitoga to modify previous statement to avoid coup members being open to prosecution in the international arena" citing no source or evidence for their claim. 


This is a strange reversal of their usual statements about a military dictatorship. Before, the military told people what to do,. Now, apparently, it's the the way round, which is good to know.
.
Youth activist shortlisted SODELPA candidate Pita Waqavonovono (who tried some years back to lead a protest march on Suva to which no one turned up) said Tikoitoga "admitted
they had detained and tortured Parliamentarians and Pro-Democracy supporters" (which he hadn't); he claimed "the voice of many young people  who were beaten and tortured at various military installations will not be silenced"
(without naming a single one), and then, incredibly, called on the "United Nations and Foreign Embassy's in Fiji  to look at Tikoitonga's comments in it's entirety [and] look into protecting Fiji's Freedom Fighters, since the Government of Fiji is bent on threatening and abusing Fiji Islanders".

Tikoitoga Responds

Tikoitoga claims his remarks were made out of context, a selective minute or two taken from a two-hour interview.  


The situation, he said,  in 2006 and 2007 when the beatings took place was very different than it is today. "What I question now is the timing ... as we near the elections. It's very mischievous to a point that it has now questioned the integrity of the RFMF in a period where we have quite clearly told the public of Fiji that we want no part in political discussions."

"We do not support any political party and we are ready to accept any government that comes after election and we will respect the Constitution," he said. "I am sincerely asking political parties and commentators not to take those comments out of contexts."

I'm afraid this is an idle ask. The only way the opposition can use his remarks to their advantage is by taking them out of context.

MIDA: Protecting the Public from the Media

The Media Industry Development Authority Chairman, Ashwin Raj also raised concerns about the two USP academics from the Journalism Programme. He asked why they did not find and confirm the facts from MIDA before making the  allegations about freedom in Fiji. He said:

  • They alleged the Fijian Government continues to intimidate journalists in the lead up to the general election, and they also made serious allegations of torture and intimidation used by the Fiji Military Forces to ensure that there is no civil disorder.
  •  Their accusation that the military is using torture and intimidation to silence journalists, with just a little over two months before the general election, is absolutely without any foundation.
  • The political situation in Fiji maybe less than ideal but a lot has been achieved since 2006 and we must move beyond the tireless debate between legality and legitimacy raised by the  academics. 
There is no sign the lecturers have taken any notice of Raj's concerns.   

The USP Lecturers

As previously noted in this blog, journalism lecturers Dr Matthew Thompson and Pat Craddock spoke out about two journalists being denied accreditation to the recent PIDF
New Zealander Pat Craddock
meeting and were found to be correct in one case and wrong in the other. 


My main concern here is that while they checked out the story with the two journalists allegedly denied accreditation, they apparently did not check out the reasons, either with MIDA or the Ministry of Information, why the journalists had not been accredited. From this, it seems reasonable to assume they were so predisposed to believe the aggrieved journalists that they thought further enquiry unnecessary. Not the best of approaches by journalism educators.

Far more serious, though, are
Dr Matthew Thompson's comments in a recent ABC interview with presenter Geraldine Coutts. (Click here for the full interview)

In his opening remark he said he thought it ironic that the Fiji military act as international peacekeepers but condone the use of violence on its citizens at home. Asked how he knew this and whether it was hearsay, he replied that Tikoitoga had admitted it (which he hadn't) and that "the government sort of admitted that at the time and said they'd gone too far."  He then went on to say:

"But I mean it continues. I mean even just not in political terms, there's a reasonably steady toll of people with broken hands here, and so the police break their hands, as a regular punishment, they bring out pipes and whips and smash people with them."

Asked how "this rubs off on the students that you're lecturing and what kind of future they have as journalists",  he replied: "Not much (of a future), apart from rewriting press releases and doing entertainment and pro-government news stories."

And asked whether he expected  any repercussions or reprisals for speaking out he said. "Possibly, there's been academics forced out of the University before (which is questionable, to say the least) and there's been academics picked up by the military before ... I just don't think I'd be doing my job as a journalism lecturer" (if he hadn't raised these issues in class and not spoken out).

Introducing Dr Matthew Thompson

In a later interview by the Fiji Sun he said: "I don't mind a bit of heat. I have been in dicier places like Colombia and Iran."


This casual comment could tell us more than intended about the man. His entry in LinkedIn, a large internet network where professionals write their own profiles, is a self portrait of a man on the move: three journalism jobs in eight years, two books My Columbian Death (2008) and Running with the Blood God (2013), both books about violence and terror in South America.  

He lists among his interests Krav Maga  (the 'contact combat'  martial art developed for the Israeli military) and he's also a trained fire fighter  "qualified in such areas as extracting casualties from wrecked vehicles and performing abseil rescues."  His doctorate is in literary journalism. 

From what he writes about himself, he appears to be an able, versatile person with a penchant to seek out the dangerous. In ordinary circumstances he could be worthwhile appointee to USP, and I've little doubt his students enjoy being taught by such a colourful character.

But these are not ordinary times in Fiji and his recent comments, although conceivably well intended, were poorly researched, unbalanced, emotionally charged, and obviously provocative and anti-Government.  He claims he had a right and duty to speak out. But does he? And to speak out in this way?

Town and Gown and Expatriate Employees

Normally, universities encourage their academic staff to engage in off-campus activities, and in Fiji this engagement has been mutually beneficial. The past engagement of Dr Wadan Narsey and the current engagements of  USP's Ashwin Raj and Prof Vijay Naidu, and FNU's Drs T.K.Jayaraman and Mahendra Reddy, are well known cases in point.

 It is, however, not engagement as such t
hat is being  questioned, but the type, quality and timing of the engagement.

 Dr Thompson has been in Fiji for three months. Far too short a time to speak out so confidentially on local issues. Putting it bluntly, as far as local customs, behaviour and events are concerned, he is wet behind the ears. 

It could be argued that three months is long enough when civil rights abuses are concerned, but he has no direct knowledge of the alleged abuses. He has relied on what others have told him, which raises questions about the knowledge, biases and agenda of his informants. 

Much of what he called brutality existed in police culture long before the 2006 coup.   This is not to say that beatings did not occur. They did.  But his description of the severity and frequency of the beatings far exceeds even those of  the anti-Bainimarama blogs, which pick up every rumour. 

The blogs have not carried stories about people being regularly beaten with pipes — and they have not reported any recent beatings.   

Thompson is engaging in polemics which reflects poorly on his academic professionalism. This is sensationalism, anything to make a headline, not investigative or even "news" journalism.

Tikoitoga made a distinction between then, soon after the coup, and now, since the Public Emergency Regulations were lifted. Thompson makes no such distinction, claiming the beatings continue.   


Tikoitoga is referring to political-motivated beatings by the military. Thompson includes non-political beatings. His only evidence other than hearsay was a 15-month old video of an escaped prisoner who had rampaged around Suva being beaten with a stick by corrections officers. This does not make it  excusable, of course, but the context was very different than that inferred by Thompson.   

The overall impression he creates is of a nation living in fear where people are regularly beaten and tortured by the military and the police. Yet this is a country where three earlier Prime Ministers, all vocal and opposed to the Bainimarama government, walk freely around Suva.  

Moreover, the image created by Thompson stands in stark contrast to recent Fiji Sun-Razor polls that show over 80% of those polled feel safer in their homes and think Fiji a better place to live in than before the 2006 takeover.

One must ask, did it not occur to Dr Thompson that to make such allegations now, with campaigning for the September elections well underway, would make it seem he was taking sides, allying himself with the political parties that oppose Bainimarama? 


Did he not consider the possible consequences for the university and his students? How will he respond if the University censor him for sensational and mainly incorrect reporting and bringing the University into disrepute? Will he claim lack of media freedom, and ignore or deny his responsibilities for accurate reporting?  

And if he is deported for breaking conditions in his working permit or for some other reason will he then retire to Brisbane with enough new material to add a disparaging deportation chapter to a new book, tentatively titled Tortures in Paradise", forgetting he has left his students, to whom he is responsible,  without a lecturer for the third time in recent months?



Dr Thompson is not the only one to determine his responsibilities. He has contractual responsibilities to the University and the students he teaches.

To Conclude


USP academics on work permits who engage in off campus activities should ensure the activities and their consequences do not undermine their university work.  What they say and write must be accurate, balanced, in context, and apolitical, especially when commenting on highly sensitive topics during an election campaign.

If, as a newcomer to Fiji, Dr Thompson was in any doubt about the likely consequences of his actions, he should have consulted the University authorities. 


I trust the university and government authorities will revisit their contract and work permit documents so that people from overseas will have a very clear understanding, before they apply and agree to take up employment in Fiji, of what is, and what is not, acceptable, . 

Dr Thompson appeared not have such an understanding or if he did, he chose to ignore it.  


* Disclaimer. I am also an expatriate member of the USP community, but my membership, as an Emeritus Professor, is honorary. I am not on a work permit and I am not a university employee. But when those conditions applied, I never  made political comments, in  public or to my students, and what I wrote met the normal academic requirements for scholarship.

Comments

Marc Edge said…
Croz, you are a bald-faced liar when you say it is "questionable, to say the least" to state that there have been academics forced out of the University before? You personally helped run me out of the country. http://crosbiew.blogspot.ca/2012/11/of-pots-and-kettles.html Then there's Wadan Narsey.
Wanna Rambo said…
Seems Dr Matthew Thompson fancies himself a the 'Rambo' of the academic world. His Rambo-like behaviour is quite damaging for USP and Fiji as far as I can see. I feel for the students.
Marc Edge said…

"While I was on my sabbatical in Japan, I was summoned to Fiji without any explanation by USP management. From a copy of email correspondence (of 29 May 2011) in my possession, the pressure apparently originated in discussions between the USP Vice Chancellor and two Bainimarama Government Ministers (publicly denied by both), and the Deputy Chair of USP Council. USP senior management (with the three most senior managers leading the charge) alleged that my writings on the FNPF and other public policy issues were costing USP some $30 million of deliberately delayed payments owed by the Fiji Government. After numerous unsubstantiated accusations and discussions lasting for two hours (of which I have a detailed transcript) they informed me that I should leave USP if I wished to continue my independent writings. With no support forthcoming from any of my superiors, including my Faculty Dean, and facing a “damned if I do and damned if I don’t” situation, I eventually resigned, under legally confidential arrangements." https://narseyonfiji.wordpress.com/2014/05/15/creeping-totalitarianism-at-usp-an-open-letter-to-usp-council-and-member-governments-15-may-2014/
USP student said…
Pat Craddock should focus on his teaching and prepare better fro his calls. WE may be students but we not stupid. WE can tell when a lecturer is not prepared. I did not learn anything from his class. He is too old to teach. Why did USP hire him?..."
Drama queens said…
Craddock and Thomson are nothing but drama queens.
Drama Queens said…
Two drama queens using Fiji to gain their five minutes of fame. It was a very calculated move on the part of Pat Craddock and Matthew Thompson. The regime is very predictable when it comes to criticism from expats. The two lecturers knew exactly what would happen. Two obscure unknowns suddenly propelled to fame. They return home to heroes' welcome as freedom fighters, with camera bulbs flashing at the airports and what not.The regime opponents will support these twos' actions anyway. Pat and Matthew, you may have fooled some people, but not everyone. All you left behind in your wake is an injured and disrupted journalism school. Fiji has become a haven for carpetbaggers in all forms and sizes. We have seen the likes of you two before.
Baldies said…
Marc, you are a bald-headed liar. You personally helped yourself get run out of USP due to incompetence. USP finally had enough of the disfunctionality caused by the never-ending Marc Edge circus. As the fledgling head of USP journalism you were your own worst enemy. You were not mature enough for the job, forever quarrelling with the kids, giving the impression of an overgrown kid with silver-white goatee. You got scalded and scarred, and left a number of scalded and scarred people in your wake. You were quite the destructive force mate. There is still hope, even for you. Get over Fiji. Go back to you comfy life in Canada and start anew. Find a partner (male or female, that's you choice). It might help (if the partner survives!).
Marc Edge said…
Can anyone explain to me what business this is of MIDA? Thompson and Craddock are not media. Do they have to consult the Ministry of Truth to ascertain the facts before they make a public statement?
Anonymous said…
Thank you Croz for putting the records strait! Your fair and balanced views are a delight to anyone who supports the Rear Admiral and his bit for a post as an elected Prime Minister. What these foreign academics ignore is the undeniable fact that Fijians love a firm hand and, that a bit of buturaki is firmly entrenched in culture and tradition. There are also completely different perceptions of pain during corporal punishment. What Westerners would perceive as torture is the normal interaction of Fijians having a minor disagreement. As all military in Fiji, General Tigoitoka is a very intelligent, sophisticated and honest man who has been lured into some trap by devious journalists who are only after a sensational story and like to portray Fiji as a military dictatorship. We all know that this is not true. The 2006 takeover of a racist, corrupt and violent government that was elected by an ignorant and uneducated electorate was a necessity and if you want to make an omelette you have got to break some eggs!
Misfits said…
Our government has suffered a long series of humiliations from rabid expatriates starting with the NZ High Commissioner who disrespectfully denied our PM the seat of honour at a rugby match to the US Ambassador Dinger who called our PM insane to ADB and EU staff calling our AG a corrupt crook and ending with academics such as Edge, Thompson et al who cannot help themselves and must interfere in Fiji's internal affairs by spreading misinformation and lies. I wished our PM took his cues from his brother in arms in Egypt where these lying Al Jazeera bastards (one of them an Aussi by the way) had to fron the music for their misdeeds and rot now in jail for years. Our PM and AG are too soft and constantly consider how their actions are perceived by the so called international community. We need a much firmer hand when it comes to misfits such as Thompson.
Anonymous said…
Both Thompson and Craddock have clearly overstepped the mark by interfering in Fiji's internal political affairs. They have made serious claims on the basis of false information. Its time the people of Fiji and the USP give them same treatment we gave that other silly Canuck who was temporarily here. Good riddance to all of them.
Anonymous said…
Excellent article Cros - what you wrote is what many of us expats working at USP and living in Fiji have privately said. If you read the Australian news, you will regularly hear of corrupt government activities at the local, state, and federal levels and of police beating people. Also most news out of Australia on Fiji is so politically negative and not like the real Fiji we know. The Australian media only seems to report the extreme and presents it as the norm.
The media over the past few decades has seem to deem itself as the sole '4th' estate or arm of government and often acting like they are 'elected' to such position. However, the 4th estate is the people... which does include the media, but not to the sole extent some journalist think. With all estates of government, there is power, but also responsibility. Many of the outspoken journalists do so in a biased manner, forgetting their responsibility is reporting unbiased facts. Their personal views and commentary should be left only to the 'opinion or editorial page' which we all know are just that - personal opinions. Unfortunately over the years USP has hired numerous of these extreme political journalist as lecturers whom have forgotten their responsibility of reporting unbiased facts.

Vinaka vakalevu Cros for the great write up in the Fiji Sun today.
.
Annomous said…
USP former Journo lecturer, Marc Edge, is already being pointed out as unbiased / unbalanced in his new teaching at Fresno State University... see http://www.bakersfieldcalifornian.com/columnists/lois-henry/x1034532590/LOIS-HENRY-Lets-at-least-keep-climate-change-debate-honest
Anonymous said…
USP should interview journalism students about teaching. Many students lost interest and not attending class or doing assignments. Journalism school is half dead.
Dumb and dumber said…
Not only these two clowns could not write a correct press release between them, they choose a USP letterhead to write down their 'personal' views and send to the media. Apparently, Pat Craddock clandestinely recorded a meeting with Esther Williams, then released it to Fijileaks. It seems these two like to preach ethics but do not practice it. One wonder what they teach students. Very poor quality 'academics'. Looks like USP is attracting rejects from Australia and New Zealand.
Anonymous said…
So it is now consistent with the rest of the junta institution? What a farce USP has become under the dismal dictatorship.
Giving academia a bad name said…
Pat Craddock despite you advanced age it seems like you still have some growing up to do. Your buddy Matthew Thompson also lacks maturity. Together the two of you are a disaster. Read what Marc Edge has written and try to understand what he is saying.

Fiji Media Wars: Discretion needed in moral entrepreneurship

http://fijimediawars.blogspot.ca/2014/06/discretion-needed-in-moral.html



Anonymous said…
Congratulations to the courageous academics standing up to the cowardly regime and the bottom feeding road kill hiding behind the thugs with guns. Their hysterical repetitive shrieking sounds like mongoose feeding time?
Anonymous said…
Hey Croz
I have been looking at pictures of both Ashwin Raj and Thompson; particularly their heads. Come to think of it they are similar to dick's head! -- though Raj loses the battle by being such an " irrumator" (lat.)--Mr. Raj can look it up.
Investigation needed said…
We USP journalism students are angry at the lack of teaching that has been going on for some time. It is very slack and disorganised but these two have time for politics. Looks like Pat Craddock come here only for a few months to make trouble. Teaching is not priority. Even before this, many students not coming to class and doing assignment because teaching is slack, especially Pat Craddock who looks like he is on holiday. he needs to get his head out of his arse and do the work he is paid for. We have enough people who are challenging the government. Dr Akanisi and Dr Sudesh who is away overseas as usual need to look into this and investigation by talking to students about what is really happening because they have no clue what is going on. Only person who is doing work is irene.
Marc Edge said…
Only in Fiji can students not attending class or doing assignments be the fault of the instructors.
Marc Edge said…
Now I know that we have entered the Bizarro World, where everything is opposite.
Former journalism student said…
Students not inspired to attend classes when they face bullying and humiliation by lecturer, infighting among lecturer's, lecturers causing division among students, and teaching is the last thing on lecture's mind. Last three years USP journalism lecture's have been too busy waging war, having affairs with students and playing politics to bother with teaching.
Investigate the treasonous criminals said…
The only investigation needed in Fiji is into the boko haram clan.
Unmasking Marc Edge said…
The California State University Fresno, where Marc Edge is now teaching, comes in at number 36 in the official ranking of regional universities in the western United States. So he is where he belongs. A second rate academic at a 30 something rate institute of higher (or shouldn't that be lower?) learning. To coin his own phrase: It's a "a Bizarro World" when someone of his diminutive intellectual and physical statue is taken seriously at all. Gone from Fiji and unlamented. Except for a wave of sympathetic "Isas" from the students at USP's Journalism School for the poor students in far-off Fresno.
Anonymous said…
Marc edge is 'Bizarro' personified.
Marc Edge said…
Any school in the CSU system is 10X anything in Fiji. At least it has academic freedom.
Anonymous said…
What, the freedom to be a self indulgent know-it-all? There must be something in the water at the journalism school at USP. Perched in front of a gaggle of gormless but blameless students, the likes of Edge, Craddock and Thompson get it into their heads that their opinions are so important that they deserve a national audience. Marc, no one gives a rat's ass what any of you think. We just want you to instruct our young on a dying craft and if you can't do that, eff off to Fresno or some other eff hole and shut up.
Lord Sharma said…
Well done Mr Edge. You and the courageous academics with integrity are certainly rattling the hysterical bottom feeders. Usually they are just jumping at their own shadows.
Marc Edge said…
Gormless? No one but the pretentious Grubby Davis would use such a word. You just can't resist a chance to take shots at me, can you? It's programmed into your DNA now. Anyone else would have learned their lesson by now. What a comedown it must be to be reduced to trolling the blogs and posting anonymous comments. Too bad you had to give up your bully pulpit. To think, you once had your column splashed across full pages of the Fiji Sun. But I put a stop to that, didn't I? You can't be a self-respecting journalist in Australia if you're a propagandist for a dictator, can you? But you still try and do your bit for the junta, don't ya? Let me explain to you what you're up against. Anyone from the Real World can tell exactly what's going on in Feejee with the amateur hour propaganda machine. All we have to do is call you bastards out and your house of cards falls apart. Shine a little light and the cockroaches all scuttle away. I kept my mouth shut for as long as I could while I was there -- almost a full year. Then as a journalist and a scholar I decided I had to speak out against the farce, just like Thompson and Craddock are doing now. You're the one who decided to take shots at me, pal. I only returned fire. Now look who's full of holes.What a joke. Now you're a bottom-feeding scum sucker.
Anonymous said…
Jesus talk about jumping at shadows. Edge doesn't even know for sure if it is Davis but goes totally apeshit. This guy is totally unhinged. Davis seems to have done his job pretty well. With The Bai polling 66 per cent to 78 per cent depending on which poll you prefer, whose the cockroach Marc Edge? I see Davis around town and he looks pretty relaxed which is more than can be said for you. Time to take your chill pills, pal. Hahaha
Genuine scholar said…
"Then as a journalist and scholar, I decided to speak out against the farce". Marc, you left USP in disgrace. You didn't decide anything. We decided for you. As David Robie so aptly described you: a liar.
Marc Edge said…
I made a conscious decision to speak out. I got slapped down as a result, so I decided to leave. History is now repeating itself.
Genuine scholar said…
Marc Edge, history is definitely not repeating itself. You did not issue a media release, like Patrick and Matthew, on a matter of high principle. You had long running battles with your fellow academics and students that resulted in several formal complaints, for which you faced disciplinary proceedings. The truth is you left before you were pushed. But rather than go gracefully, acknowledging that you were a cultural misfit in Fiji, you have sprayed venom at every conceivable perceived enemy, whether it be Crosbie Walsh, David Robie, Graham Davies or even former students in the case of Arnold Chanel. But your real enemy is yourself. It is time for those of us at USP to set the record straight. It is time to expose you so that your students in the US are alerted to the perils of "scholarship" under Marc Edge. You are not the defender of free speech and academic freedom you purport to be. You are a deluded liar who has concocted an elaborate fantasy to hide the truth.
Marc Edge said…
Not quite correct. Any complaints against me were groundless, as I was assured by those whose opinion counted. For speaking out against the regime's press repression, I came under attack in a smear campaign by Grubby Davis and the accomplices you name. Grubby then disclosed that he worked for Qorvis, so I did a bit of research on them and published it on my blog. That sealed my fate. If I told you how it went down, it would curl your hair. If you had any. http://fijimediawars.blogspot.ca/2012/11/whowhat-is-qorvis-communications.html
Genuine scholar said…
Well here we go yet again. No outright rejection of the truth of the circumstances of your departure. "Not quite correct". So in other words, largely correct as I outlined but perhaps not in some (minor) detail. Which one Marc? You did not "speak out against the regime's press suppression" until you left Fiji. For month's before that, there was continuous trouble at USP, none of which had anything to do with you defending press freedom and everything to do with your personal behaviour. The complaints came from both your students and fellow academics and you know it. I was one of them. There is one way to resolve this farce and establish the truth once and for all. We will redouble our efforts to obtain the internal paper trail that led to your departure and make sure it is published. This has gone on for too long. It is time for USP academics who care about the University's reputation to come to its defense. It is also time for the State University of California, Fresno, to receive the necessary information to end your fraudulent posturing once and for all. That will make your hair curl. If you had any.
Anonymous said…
"A bottom feeding scum sucker". Gee guess you really have to get a doctorate to be able to come up with a line this. Definitely the first time in my life that I have regretted not going to university. Classy.
Marc Edge said…
@Genuine Scholar a/k/a Grubby McScumsucker

You have long been pushing the myth that I did not speak out against the regime’s press repression until after I left Fiji. This is another bald-faced lie which I have answered before, but which I am happy to answer again if it will shut you up, which I well realize there is absolutely no chance of. I began speaking out in February 2012, after I had been in Feejee for nine months. I did an interview with FijiTV about the 2012 State Proceedings Amendment Decree, which granted government ministers and media outlets immunity from defamation lawsuits for making or publishing defamatory statements. (I see that game-changer has now been repealed under international pressure.) That April, I spoke out in a Radio Australia against the preposterous “Pacific Media at Peace” meme that you and Robie were pushing in the wake of the farcical PINA conference. That’s when you went after me the first time. On World Press Freedom Day in May, I gave a speech advocating press freedom, which was reprinted in the Fiji Times. You have used this speech to show that I am in the libertarian camp WRT press freedom, while I actually advocate social responsibility. In June, I began my blog and criticized the TV Decree for its lack of appeal mechanism and provision for double jeopardy, as I did in interviews with RA and RNZI. That brought the first regime complaint to my erstwhile employer, and my blog went quiet until after our symposium on Media and Democracy that September. You began attacking me on your blog and in the Fiji Sun in April for daring to criticize PINA, and by extension yourself and Robie; in May for an interview I gave to the Fiji Sun that January raving about the Suva Point Apartments where I lived, which for some reason wasn’t an issue until I began speaking out about press freedom and repression; in May for advocating for press freedom; and in September for our symposium, which you dubbed “Edgefest.” Of course, all holy hell broke loose that month after you admitted you were a government propagandist for Qorvis and falsely reported that I was “clinging to my job by my fingernails” after official protests and open conflict with my fellow academics, and that formal internal disciplinary proceedings had been triggered that could lead to my dismissal. That’s when I threatened to sue you and the Fiji Sun and I began going after you on my blog for your admitted propagandizing. That’s also when everybody else started shooting at me and I started shooting back. The only thing I can think of is that the regime must have been AWFULLY desperate to get rid of me. By year’s end, I was all you could blog about for two straight months, so when you speak of months of continuous trouble, who was responsible for that? Now you claim that “none of which had anything to do with you defending press freedom?” Say hi to Rhys Holleran for me.
Anonymous said…
What is this? Marc Edge is a complete psycho.
Anonymous said…
Totally over the edge. hahaha
Anonymous said…
Well done Marc Edge. you have really put this illegal regime and its old facist fool propagandists in their place. Davis getting his breadcrumbs from qorvis and Walsh and his wife seeking free trips to Fiji at the expense of poor Fijians who have no say in payments to these bludgers and scumbags. Congratulations to you and the other courageous academics. It has been a hoot watching the hysteria of the slum dwellers.
Anonymous said…
Psychoboy and his fan club. Thank God they are nowhere near Fiji.
Anonymous said…
Marc Edge go back to your blogsite where there is hardly any contributors. You maybe a scholar (or whatevery you call yourself) but you certainly are acting like my 9 year old nephew.
Marc Edge said…
Geez, somebody asked me a question and I answered it. You've got a problem with that?
Anonymous said…
"Somebody asked you a question"? I thought you already knew for certain who it was. Whether it was Davis or not he has sure messed with your head. That last rant proves you are mad.
Marc Edge said…
I'm pretty sure it was Gormless Grubby
Anonymous said…
"Pretty sure"? Just as well you weren't wielding a gun.
Genuine Scholar said…
I am not "Gormless Grubby". I can do a lot more damage to you than he ever did. I stand by what I said. You continue to bring USP into disrepute and we have had enough.
Marc Edge said…
If you are not He then you must be She.
Crosbie Walsh said…
Why is it that every time Marc enters a general discussion, in no time at all it's turned into a discussion about HIM? This correspondence is now closed and further comments will be deleted. .
Marc Edge said…
it's the old Lau connection . . . they were destined to be trolls

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