Snippets: Name Changes, Crime, Bomb Threats, Child Welfare Decree, National Spectrum Decree

(+) SCHOOL NAMES THAT DENOTE RACIAL AFFILIATIONS (Fijian, Indian) are to be phased out, as recommended in the People's Charter.Head of the Strategic Framework for Change, Filimoni Kau (photo Fiji Village), said they had informed the Education Ministry of this directive and the onus was on the Ministry to inform all schools.

Work is also underway on the process of having a common name for all Fiji citizens(with indigenous Fijians to be called i-Taukei) and the abolition of race-based entry qualification for scholarships. Kau said common name consultations requires a lot of work. The outcome will be included in the new constitution.Full story.

(+) SUVA'S REPORTED CRIMES HAVE DROPPED to 1360 from 2285 at the same time last year, and work between Police,City Council and the public hopes to make the capital crime-free.  Initiatives include community involvement in four "crime watch" zones; crime prevention committees; and an aggressive approach towards addressing crime which included stop and search on suspects, apprehending warrantees, and frequent raids on drug dealers, bootleggers and pawn shops. Full story.

(o) WITH TWO BOMB THREATS (BUT NO BOMBS) THIS WEEK, Defence Minister Ratu Epeli Ganilau thinks they are the work of pranksters but does not exclude political motivations. He said "there were some people who still did not agree with current leaders and they would always intervene with the stability of the Government ... bomb threats and death threats were not something new, because they had gone through a lot since the beginning of the year." The phone calls "targeted" the Suva Central hotel and TFL National Stadium. Full story.

(o) THE DRAFTING OF A CHILD WELFARE DECREE has been approved by Cabinet. The Decree results from an increase in child welfare litigation for physical and sexual abuse, neglect and deaths. Under present legislation medical professionals are not legally bound to report such cases. This results in under-reporting and the notion that the welfare of Fiji's children can never be adequately addressed due to paucity of reports and information.    Full story.

(-) POTENTIALLY SINISTER USES OF NATIONAL SPECTRUM DECREE  The Australian appears to have picked up a report from Coupfourpointfive about Government's new powers over radio frequencies. Full report.  

Coupfourpointfive provides a detailed analysis of the new decree's possible uses and abuses. I'll make up my mind on the decree when I have more information. But with three blog blockages in three weeks (and possible leaks in IP security) Government does seem to have stepped up its internet surveillence. Perhaps with good cause if the bomb threats reported above were politically motivated.  Full report.

(+) POSTSCRIPT. I will be commenting on the last item as soon as I've finished tracing the threads. Meanwhile, I'm not convinced with the spin from blogs and the overseas media. One correction: The Australian report appears to have preceeded Coupfourpointfive, though both could receive their information from the same (journalist?) sources within Fiji. And both put the worst possible interpretation on what may just be a move to rationalise radio and TV wavelengthsNeither commented on the Liquor, Income Tax, and Gambling Decrees also announced this month. Couldn't they find something wrong with them, too?


Anonymous said…
Obviously even the potential threat of losing their licenses will make the existing broadcasters wary of doing anything to upset the regime. But there's clearly another agenda here. For some time, the regime has examined the idea of setting up a separate television network in the Fijian language either run by its existing information arm or a private enterprise entity sympathetic to the regime and its aims. The notion is that Fijians need to be educated over time through television to embrace a multiracial agenda and pave the way to voting in a more enlightened sense when democracy returns. This decree paves the way for this network to be set up, though where the funding will come from still isn't clear. It would need to be commercially driven so might appeal to advertisers trying to reach a purely indigenous market. Of course, whether there are profits to be derived from this is another matter. But that's the plan. The existing operators won't be happy but thems the breaks in a dictatorship.
Anonymous said…
Having naively put their faith in the notion of the regime collapsing under the weight of sanctions, the SDL and its pro democracy fellow travelers are clearly desperate. So it's no surprise to learn of the advent of more crude methods to create disruption, like the bomb threats. Strange how "democrats" are only too keen to resort to the methods of authoritarianism, even terrorism, when it suits them. These threats need to be taken seriously and the regime is perfectly entitled to take whatever precautions it sees fit to protect the public. There's been an alarming increase in recent times in the tenor of anti-regime rhetoric. This includes the recent calls on Raw Fiji News for the assassination of Frank Bainimarama. This hysteria will only get worse as it slowly dawns on the SDL and its followers that no amount of sanctions or ostracism will dislodge the regime. The big concern has to be that bomb threats give way to actual bombings. The fact is bombs aren't difficult to make if you have the right know-how and ingredients and we saw that in Suva in 1987. Those of us in the middle will face some very uncomfortable dilemmas as time goes on, like how much force we're prepared to countenance from the military in the face of such threats. Are a few beatings at the barracks ( and more deaths in custody ) less important than keeping order? We've already had to make some dreadful compromises and I fear there are a lot more to come.
Anonymous said…
You'll notice that William Parkinson's Communications Fiji Limited has issued a statement saying it believes "there's nothing sinister" in the broadcasting shake-up and the existing regime was "haphazard" and needed addressing. So much for the great conspiracy peddled by the Australian newspaper and leapt on with glee by the drop kick spiv who passes for the Aussie Foreign Minister.
Anonymous said…
These crime figures speak for themselves don't they? Unless they've been cooked by the idiot "New Methodist" who heads up the Fiji Police, they confirm what we've always known; zero tolerance plus giving the local thugs a good old fashioned buturaki is the way to keep law and order in Fiji. Or anywhere else for that matter.
Anonymous said…
Strange how its taken a military dictatorship to end the practice of naming schools after the race of their pupils. Both the Indians and Fijians have clung to this practice long after the other races decided it was no longer PC. Which I guess says it all in terms of the polarisation of the two majority communities. In the early 1960s, the Lautoka European School was renamed Drasa Avenue School for precisely the same reasons being given for banning the practice nearly half a century later. Of course, the odd thing is that many Fijians have long known that they could get a better education at an "Indian" school, with classmates determined to get on.
Anonymous said…
Croz, more support for the Government on top of that already expressed by Communications Fiji. So what is Stephen Smith on about?


SUVA (Mai TV/Pacific Media Watch): Broadcaster Mai TV today welcomed moves by the Fiji government to review the use of spectrum as announced last week.

Chief executive Richard Broadbridge said while the decision by the government could be seen as interference it was certainly bold and welcomed by his company.

“Mai TV launched one and a half years ago using UHF as we were told by the Department of Communications there were no VHF channels available. Further enquiries revealed that one broadcaster in particular held onto more VHF channels then they needed,” Broadbridge said.

Mai TV voiced its concerns at several forums including this year’s Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) convention in Port Vila, Vanuatu, where the company said it was disadvantaged in Fiji because there was poor planning of frequencies in the past.

The broadcaster says thousands of viewers have purchased UHF antennas to see their signal in Suva, Nadi and Lautoka.

“If we are assigned VHF in these areas, we may need to continue running a UHF transmitter and using VHF to fill in areas that have been problematic for us,” Broadbridge said.

Mai TV has asked the government to state its policy in regards to Fiji’s transition to digital. The company sees this new decree as a step in the right direction to ensuring all broadcasters are treated fairly and that TV and radio services are available to users easier and cheaper.

“Our course time will tell but we can only hope that good sense prevails and that all broadcasters are treated the same no matter how big or small they are," Broadbridge added.