Sunday, 10 August 2014

Sally Going Round and Round

A New Zealand journalist has just returned from reporting on the political situation in Fiji.  Now, at last, we will have an informed and independent assessment of the political situation there. No longer will we have to rely on the biases and interpretations of those sitting on opposing sides of the political divide, or put up with the 'propaganda' of the military regime.  We will hear from Government and the major political parties about what they are offering the people of Fiji when they come to vote a little more than a months time.

I think back to when I had this opportunity two  ago. I interviewed the Prime Minister, the Attorney General, three other government ministers, the head of the army, three Permanent Secretaries, the publishers and editors of the Fiji Sun and the Fiji Times, three judges, three lawyers with international reputations, a  prominent and well respected chief,  four  trade unionists, two non government organisations, and several prominent church and educational leaders. A mix of people who were part of or in support of the Bainimarama government, in whole or in part;  those  who were neutral or undecided, and those who were vehemently opposed. I published the results in this bog. The NZ media were not interested. 

This is what Sally Round of Radio NZ International found out during her trip to Fiji, and this is who she spoke to.  The  situation was a little better but constraints still existed.

Once anti-government activist and now SODELPA candidate Pita Waqavonovono recalled how he had been ill-treated six years ago. An anonymous person said he thought the situation had not improved.  The  election's only independent candidate Roshika Deo said a policeman attended one of her meetings. FLP's . Mahendra Chaudhry,  unlikely to contest the election because of his conviction 
for currency evasion and whose party on present showings will be lucky to win a seat,  spoke of the need to remove the dictatorship and restore democracy. And long outspoken anti-Bainimarama lawyer Richard Naidu complained that the media could be fined for publishing unbalanced news items!

So there you have it: media freedom RNZI style.  As a Fiji friend  emailed me: "This Radio NZ piece is a complete disgrace. It is either gross naivety or wilful misreporting. Almost the entire contents have  been fabricated by the informants, as in the case of the Amnesty International report that you have rightly denounced. "


  1. Excellent reporting by RNZI on the continuing repressive situation in Fiji under the illegal junta. Each day Fiji is becoming more like a failed middle eastern state rather than a free nation in the Pacific. The poorly led Fiji military certainly has sold out its people to treasonous opportunists.

    1. This is crap! You have obviously not been to Fiji recently. Go take a cold shower.

  2. What you smoking bro. wake up!

  3. Right on the money, excellent analysis based on facts-NOT

  4. Now is the right time for NZ and Australian media to become a bit more sophisticating in their reporting and commenting on Fiji politics: For eight years now, Fiji has been ruled by a benevolent military dictator. Freedom of speech and assembly have been curtailed and so has the right of the individual to criticise the government. But it is also a fact that in relative terms, the Bainimarama junta has been less violent than any other dictatorship in the history of mankind. Only a handful of people have been killed in custody, there was a bit of torture, but fully in line with the corporal punishment traditionally dished out by the chiefs against unruly subjects. There was a bit of politically motivated persecution, but hey look at the Western world and you will find the same everywhere. Substantial reforms have been implemented cutting red tape out of procurement processes for large projects. Projects such as the Nadarivatu Hydro scheme were quickly awarded to competent Chinese contractors, the projects fast tracked and approved by the PM's office. if this project was to be procured under ADB or World Bank rules, we would not have power from Nadarivatu yet. Then there is the remarkable progress in fighting religious fanatism preached and exercised by the Methodist church. Their grip on our society has been broken for good and was replaced by secularism as practised in modern democracies. The bible bashers are now in hiding, trying to agitate their flocks against secular military rule. The list goes on and on. If we compare NZ and Fiji in more detail we will find interesting stories to tell. Take the sale of national assets. Key in NZ completely ignored a referendum on the sale of assets and went ahead against the express will of a clear majority of the electorate. In contrast, Fiji's AG has cancelled the sale of FEA and other SOEs when he realised that the population would not like it. Which country then follows democratic principles? The undemocratic, neocolonial Pacific Forum has been replaced by the PM's own Pacific Development Forum, a place where Fiji can assert herself and play the leading role it deserves in the region. Fiji has also developed strong ties with other democratic nations such as China, Russia and North Korea, we now have friends much much stronger than Australia and NZ. Under the newly established Fiji First Party, for the first time internal democratic processes are used to nominate candidates and leaders. In the old, corrupt parties such things have always been dictated by the respective leaders. It is time that all these facts are being properly reported and analysed in the international media.

  5. Replies
    1. Croz
      Are you thanking the goon for the torture or that only a handful have been killed in custody? Or both?

  6. What to do when reality doesn't match the perception. Sally chooses perception; goes round and round. I mean how dare Fiji be different from Sallys/ Fields/ Dreavers dreams. They are after all such reputed journalist! They can't be wrong. Or they hacks who are out to do a hatchet job on Fiji? Croz may be it your fault for naming your blog as you have.


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