(+) The Morality and Purpose of Media "Leaks"

There is a very interesting comment to this post. Click on Comments below to read it.

I invite you to look at this article in The Australian and further comment by Coupfourpointfive and then consider the following:

Chief Justice Gates sent PM Bainimarama a memo about the difficulties experienced by the Sri Lankan judges in obtaining transit visas through Australia. The memo was "leaked" to the media.

Within hours, Bainimarama said he would expell top diplomats from the Australian and New Zealand High Coms. But Bainimarama had threatened this action earlier, according to another "leaked"email, this time from one of the judges to the Sri Lankan Honorary Consul in Suva.

The email, and a letter to both High Coms written by Foreign Affairs Secretary Solo Mara, were then "leaked," directly or indirectly to The Australian.

A copy of this email sent to Bainimarama was also then "leaked" to the media. And a copy of the Aust.High Com's telephone conversation with one of the Sri Lankan judges was "obtained" by Canberra and passed on to the media. 

Which leaves one thinking.  Why all these "leaks"? Isn't it a form of stealing?  Who is leaking this information? To what purpose? What is the purpose of publishing it?  And why are there no "leaks" sought or published by the media from Australian and New Zealand sources? Why do they only "leak" one way? 

If the foreign media and anti-government blogs  have the influence and resources for such "investigative journalism, why are their other pubications on Fiji generally so impoverished? Does the ongoing publication of this sort of information --much of it second-hand, based on rumour and speculation -- really help Fiji to "move on"?  Does it make the Fiji Government feel less threatened and help ease tensions with other countries? Will it take Fiji a step closer to lifting the Public Emergency Regulations and the resumption of dialogue?

These are the questions that patriotic Bloggers and Leakers who are opposed to the Government should be asking themselves.


Anonymous said…
The leaks in Fiji are presumably from disgruntled senior officials in the civil service, who continue to support the deposed Qarase government and/or don't believe in "illegal" governments.

I'd imagine that in this case, a legal "purist" in the office of the Chief Justice leaked the memo to another lawyer in the pro-democracy lobby, who leaked it to receptive contacts in the Fiji Times, the Murdoch owned national daily engaged in a long war of attrition with the regime.

The Fiji Times wouldn't have been able to do anything with it because of the censors. So it passed it on to its sister paper, The Australian. The Oz's legal affairs correspondent, Chris Merritt, has produced a host of stories on Fiji and particularly the role of Anthony Gates in the local judiciary. So he would have been keenly interested in the story.

Either that or the Suva lawyers passed the memo directly to Merritt, an excellent journalist whose weekly legal pages in the Oz are a must read for lawyers throughout the region.

This is all speculation, of course, but if I was given the job of investigating the Gates leak, that's where I'd begin. Just because the Fiji Times is censored doesn't mean the flow of information has stopped.
And when your publisher is a former journalist on the Australian, placing any big story is just a phone call or email away.

Legal luminaries in Suva who oppose Frank for his "illegal" activities plus their pro-democracy cohorts in the media, and especially the FT, constitute an informal but potent opposition to the regime.

Anything they can get their hands on, they will. And even if they can't peddle the information locally, they know there's an eager media pack outside the country who can push their barrow for them.

Leaks, like death and taxes, are generally unavoidable in most countries and especially so when the legal, media and academic elite are so alienated from the government as in Fiji right now.
Anonymous said…
The story in the Australian is another beat up by the News Corp press. They fail to clarify that the Australians had the visa applications for 8 days prior to them being withdrawn. The question that should have been asked is how long would this type of application normally take to process. If they were not processed in the normal time, disrupting the travel plans of the judges, that is exactly the same as being denied.

The phone recording is also called illicit. Why is it illicit? They fail to mention any Sri Lankan law making it illicit. Don't you think Sri Lankan judges would know what was illicit or not before sending the recording around the world.