Showing posts from November 15, 2015

Issues Facing Fiji Journalists

FIJI: Next generation of journalists faces key challenges
Friday, November 20, 2015 Item: 9491 AUCKLAND (Radio NZ International / Pacific Media Watch): Fiji's student journalists have been told they can change the media climate in the country, but face enormous pressures to do so. As the media industry struggles to fight off claims it is still controlled by the authorities, students at the University of the South Pacific have been praised for their award-winning stories. But there's a clear message from the students - the government can learn and benefit from the media, and needs to start listening. Alex Perrottet has more: The official newspaper of USP's school of journalism, Wansolwara has won international awards for stories, including live online reports of the events of the 2000 coup. The most recent student editor is Duane Mar, who says Wansolwara has plenty of respect …

Ro Teimumu, John Key and Generalised Accusations

I'm not sure whether John Key is the best choice as an Fiji Opposition ally.  He has some serious democratic issues to deal with in New Zealand, and he's been accused of bullying and patronising in some of his Pacific dealings. But the points both he and Ro Teimumu have raised in this Fiji Oppositon statement, require answers. Or rather —they would require answers if the accusations were made more specific.  It's hard to answer generalities.  To be heeded outside the circle of their core supporters, the Opposition needs to make these claims specific.

How, exactly, is the independence of the media, parliament, the civil Service, the police and the judiciary compromised?  Examples, please.How is debate stifled? How are civil servants intimidated? Examples are needed. Those so far raised in parliament seem more like nit picking, and the example of the Acting Police Commissioner in this statement is far from convincing. It may have been better to appoint someone other than a m…

Some Pros and Cons of the 2016 Budget: Khaiyum, Walsh, Prasad, Barr and Narsey

It's been two weeks now since Minister of Finance, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum delivered the 2016 Budget A Strong Fiji, A Fair Fiji, A Healthy Fiji.and sufficient time for its implications to be understood and commented upon. The main elements are:

The budget allocates $3.4billion met from Government revenue of $3.1bn and an estimated $2.6bn  from taxes though Fiji Revenue and Customs Authority.Inflation, 1.3% in 2015, was expected to increase to 3% in 2016; and the balance of payments to widen slightly to 4% of GDP.VAT to be reduced from 15% to 9% but basic food items, kerosene and some medicines will no longer be exempt from tax. Government expects to recover $108m lost revenue from the VAT reduction by the removal of the VAT exemptions, a  further $127.5m from an increase from 5% to !)% of Service Turnover Tax and a new environment levy of 6%, and increased domestic bond borrowing.Education, health, housing assistance   and most other areas of government expenditure will be at least mode…

Naidu:Another Resignation, But Why?

Earlier, when Police chief Ken Groenewald unexpectedly resigned, Opposition leader Ro Teimumu asked for a meeting of the Constitutional Offices Commission and was told by the PM and CAC chairman that it was his job to call meetings, not hers. I've little doubt her call was in part politically motivated (why give up an opportunity to debunk government) but I thought she was perfectly entitled to speak as she did, and the PM would have earned more respect if his response had not been so petty and personal.

Now, we have the resignation of Opposition CAC nominee, prominent lawyer and Government critic Richard Naidu.

He gives his reasons and is answered by the A-G in Fiji Times article below.

The larger question is: was the reason for his resignation as simple and straightforward as he claims, or was it primarily a further attempt (if Ro Teimumu was an earlier one) to undermine government offices? Or, like many human actions, a mix of several reasons?
Lawyer resigns, A-G says no poli…