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Showing posts from June 22, 2014

Blowing on the Embers of Old Fires: Media and Academic Freedom and Responsibility

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Opinion by Croz Walsh*

In less than 80 days Fiji goes to the polls in its first election for eight years. The regime's opponents and the media have more freedom now than at any time since 2009. Institutions and arrangements, including overseas observers, are being put place to protect the integrity of the elections, and to protect the media —the public from the media and the media from itself. The military presence is minimal.

So why now do we have the Australian media questioning Brig.Gen. Mosese Tikoitoga about alleged abuses of power seven years ago; the political opposition distorting and exaggerating what he said, and a recently arrived USP journalism educator full of righteous hyperbole over supposed and ongoing torture? 

For the Australian media, I suspect a large part of their reason is to retaining reader and viewer interest with sensational stories. For some perverse reason, the general public is often more interested in what is wrong than in what is going well. I hardly …

Joint Australia-Fiji Statement

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ENHANCING BILATERAL ENGAGEMENT

Today we were pleased to meet at Australia’s Parliament House to discuss our mutual commitment to enhancing engagement between our two countries.

The discussion provided an important opportunity to discuss ways we can build the bilateral relationship into a dynamic and productive partnership.

Minister Ratu Inoke updated Minister Bishop on Fiji’s further progress towards the 17 September elections. Minister Bishop emphasised Australia’s strong support for the electoral process. 

Building on Australia’s in-principle acceptance of Fiji’s invitation to co-lead a Multinational Observer Group to observe the elections, Minister Bishop said she looked forward to the finalisation of the terms of reference for the mission. 

Reflecting the growing official engagement, the two Foreign Ministers discussed a wide range of issues of common interest to both countries, including strengthening dialogue and people-to-people links. Preparatory work to re-establish defence ties…

When Ignorance is Bliss

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"When ignorance is bliss" is a line of poetry which means if knowing something makes you unhappy, it would be better not to know it.

John Kotoisuva is the president of the Fiji Community Association of Auckland who wrote in Facebook  he's "fuelled by a lack of transparency about how the votes in Fiji and overseas will be recorded and counted" in the September election" before stating, "The Fiji government needs to give a clear explanation if voters are to have confidence in the election and the result."

There really is no good reason why a person in his position —who can so easily influence the opinions of others— should make such a statement, There may possibly be legitimate concerns about the fairness of some elements of the election process in the lead up to the elections, but not when and after voters vote.

All John needs to do is keep up with the online Fiji media, read something other than the vehemently anti-Bainimarama blogs,  and visit …

Lockington's Everyday Fiji ... Life Goes On

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Think of Levuka

It's 50 since PAFCO started, and what a journey it has been. Levuka needs PAFCO for the people to survive. I lived in Levuka from 1985 to 1990 and it was thriving. The shops could afford to give goods on credit because the shop owner knew that the purchaser had a secure job. I too had the luxury of taking a stereo home on credit - I was a Customs officer. Such was the confidence of the shop keepers.

When PAFCO was thriving pay days would see supermarkets full of people with full shopping carts. Taxis would be hired and every so often when I wouldn't someone for a while I would be told that he or she had gone to Viti Levu to visit families. That is now restricted because finances is low now.

It was not odd to see drunk staggering home from a party. And eateries would always have patrons. New clothes could be seen worn by the people. By the way even the fisherman would give strings of fish on credit because come payday he gets his money.

And as for the church col…

News and Comments Wednesday 25 June

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FALLOUT FROM BRIG.GEN.TIKOITOGA'S COMMENTS. The main news over the past few days has been in the fallout from the RFMF Commander's comments reported in the Australian media.

In the Fiji Times on Tuesday, Tikoitoga  said he did not admit that citizens had been beaten and tortured by the military, saying instead that his exact words were, "I wouldn't deny that these things happened,"   The distinction may be a fine one but he was not there when the military abused women opposition activists at the Queen Elizabeth Barracks in early 2007.  The officer present, according to one of the women, was Ratu Tevita Mara  now in exile in Tonga.

Tikoitoga did, however, justify unspecified action against those opposing the 2006 military takeover.

"A  lot of these people," he said, "were actually trying to instigate violence by creating anti-government movements or militant groups. They were talking on the radio and so on. If you let them continue to ha…

News and Comments Monday 22 June

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WHAT THE PEOPLE WANT.  Click on this link to read the Fiji Times article on ordinary people's satisfaction with government and what they want from the government elected in September.

POLL RESULTS. The Fiji Times-Tebbutt polls found that people's main concerns are economic such as poverty,  the cost of living and unemployment.

The Fiji Sun-Razor polls, however, show most people feel safer in their homes now than they did before the 2006 takeover (86% to 10% with 4% unsure), and most think Fiji is a better place than it was before (87% to 7% with 6% unsure.) 

The two sets of polls are not contradictory. The Tebbutt poll asked general questions with which those polled by Razor may also have agreed —and still think things are better now than before 2006. 

FIJI'S DIPLOMATIC SUCCESSES.  In this important and revealing video, ABC's Sean Dorney speaks of Fiji's diplomatic successes after it was suspended by the Australia-NZ dominated Pacific Islands Forum, the growing im…

NZ Poll Rigged

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The latest NZ Herald-Digipoll poll is obviously  rigged. Either that or people are too afraid to speak their minds, which is not surprising given that the Governor-General Lt Gen Jerry Mataparae is a military officer and the PM a Jew with clandestine links to Israeli's notorious Mossad.

There's no way in a peaceful, democratic environment (which we used to have) that 66% of potential voters could prefer John Key as their PM, or that 50.5% would vote National if an election were held now. Yet that's what the poll claimed.

The skulduggery does not stop there. The Stuff-Ipsos showed National poll  had 56.5% support. As if anyone in their right mind would believe this result genuine!

It's clear also that the September election is not going to be either free or fair either when  Key's backers —in addition to controlling these influential polls— more importantly also control the media and judiciary,  and the police are able to monitor cell phone messages. Forget the lev…

The Pacific Islands Development Programme

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An extract from Bainimarama's closing address to last week's PIDF meeting:

"Part of the attraction of the PIDF is still its novelty value, the fact that for the first time, we all have a genuinely Pacific gathering that is also genuinely inclusive – Governments, civil society organisations and business working together to forge a sustainable development path for us all...

"Why has it taken us so many years to officially recognise the need for this grand coalition, to recognise that Governments don’t have all the answers, don’t have a monopoly on wisdom?

"Think about it. Where else can we all gather together under the one roof to exchange opinions and ideas?

"Where else do we see Pacific leaders actually chairing sessions addressed by civil society and business representatives, as happened yesterday with the Presidents of Kiribati and Nauru?

"Where else can we hear senior representatives from some of the world’s greatest nations outlining their own de…