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Showing posts from April 5, 2009

(oB) To-morrow 9th April : Too Many Big Question Marks

Matters seem to be coming to a head  in Fiji, and tomorrow may tell us which way they are heading. 
First, former USP and current ANU academic, Dr Jon Fraenkel, has caste doubts about whether the Interim Government is genuine about holding elections, a view shared by others in and out of Fiji. Events tomorrow may provide an answer to this question. Second, Bainimarama has put four conditions on the attendance of the SDL, UPP, NFP and the NVTP parties at tomorrow's meeting of political leaders. The Fiji Times says that two of the conditions include "reform of the communal system of voting and not dealing with 'partisan media'." The exclusion of these parties would make the meeting totally unrepresentative.
Third, National Federation Party's Pramod Rae has reminded the Interim Government it has only until May 1 to set the date for an election that must be held by the end of the year, or face "targetted measures" by the PI Forum.  
Fourth, January's PI…

(o) What's Going On, Commander?

For the second time, as we approach a Political Party Leaders' Forum, the Interim Government huffs and puffs about excluding majority opposition parties because they continue to make anti-Government statements. Of course they do. What else can be expected from the aggrieved parties?

Speaking in Fijian to Radio Fiji yesterday, Cdre Bainimarama said the military council has advised him to exclude the SDL, NFP, UPP and certain NGOs from Thursday's meeting, adding that they "should not be part of the meeting."

I've no ideas what this charade is supposed to convey. Could Bainimarama and the military think they gain public support, or throw dust into their opponents' eyes, by this posturing, knowing all along that if they don't admit the opposition groups, the meeting itself -- and the President's Political Dialogue Forum which follows -- is turned into a charade. Or has the hoopla been "ordered" by the media? Whatever. Fiji could do without …

(+) If You Point Your Finger at Your Neighbour, How Many Point Back at You?

So it is all of us - newspapers, magazines, television, radio and increasingly web sites on the internet - who have become ever more dependent on the information traders. There have been a whole range of consequences. And I fear it is our standards as  journalists - our ethics - which are increasingly under threat." ---- Leaks, Lies & Tip Offs, former BBC political correspondent Nicholas Jones.

The latest police search of the Fiji Times offices has again prompted the International Federation of Journalists to rush to the newpaper's defence and Editor Netani Rika to say “the search warrant was a complete waste of time for the police and the firm."

Police said they were looking for a petition signed by Ministry of Finance staff addressed to the Public Service Commission, which they warned the FT not to publish. The FT did not deny their reporter Reijeli Kikau was (or had been) in possession of the document,  or that it had at some time been in their offices.
If this were …

(o+) The Judiciary and Justice Scutt: Saint or Sinner

Many of those opposing the Interim Government complain the Interim Government and the military have constantly interfered with the judiciary since December 2006. The suspension of former Chief Justice Daniel Fatiaki* soon afterwards lends weight to this view, although his appointment by the Qarase Government, and his anti-coup stand, could have seemed justification. The expulsion of overseas lawyers hired to defend those accused by the IG could also be deemed interference.  But to this outside observer the alleged interference has been neither constant nor totally unjustified.  Many far-from-democratic forces have been at work since December 2006 whose sole purpose seemed to be to achieve a return to the "ancient regime", warts, blisters and boils notwithstanding.
Post-coup situations, by definition, are abnormal. It would be surprising to find no change to whatever was considered normal before the coup. From the perspective of the media, the old government and certain NGOs, …

(o) Robin Nair: Getting to the Main Game

Robin Nair offers his views on why the main politicial parties appear to be going along with the proposals put forward by Cdre Bainimarama at the Political Party Leaders' Forum. Click here.