Report – By Pacific Media Watch
A new magazine has been launched in Fiji that has challenged the media establishment and pledges to bring a “refreshing” editorial mix and become the “voice of reason”.
Editor Ricardo Morris says in the editorial of Repúblika magazine his generation is the country’s “greatest hope for redemption” for rebuilding democracy after a legacy of four coups since 1987.
“This is our time to build the nation we envision. But for us to do this we should be unafraid to emerge from the shadows into the national conscience, to raise our voices against injustice and prejudice,” he wrote.
At the launching in Suva today, Morris pledged to bring “credibility” to the Fiji news media, saying the mainstream media had failed in its duty to inform the public.
The first edition features an investigation into the unresolved death of 13-year-old Sereima Berwick Degei five years ago. Her family is still waiting for justice – was it murder or suicide?
Sereima was found hanging from a tree at the back of her house after going missing from her Tailevu village in early September 2007 – just three months short of her 14th birthday.
Other articles include a tribute to Sir Moti Tikaram by Nazhat Shameem and Save Waqainabete writing on the wrangle over tuna fishing licences.
The Repúblika editorial says:
Blames the one before,
And all of their frustrations,
Come beating on your door.”
~ The Living Years, Mike and the
My first political memory is of the middle of 1987, as a six-year-old engulfed in the aftermath of the Pacific’s first coup d’état carried out by a dashing (at the time) Lieutenant-Colonel Sitiveni Ligamamada Rabuka. To a young mind, it was a period of intrigue and emotion; the forerunner to an epoch of instability as never seen since Fiji’s nationhood just short of 17 years before that.
That loss of innocence for Fiji, I realise today, was to play a great part in my choice of career: to become someone who would bear witness on behalf of the public, be a writer of the first draft of history, the asker of questions in the defence of human rights and the rule of law.
In 1987, UB40’s Red Red Wine was a radio hit, apartheid still haunted South Africa, and Roostrata was one of two reggae acts starting a musical revolution in Fiji. Generation Y, as we now know ourselves to be, are those who remember the last years of nuclear testing in the Pacific in the 1990s. More importantly we are a generation who are old enough to remember a time, even if all too short and blurry, when we were a country without coups, yet young enough not to have been tainted by the political turmoil that has ensued.
The generation that I grew up with is this country’s greatest hope for redemption. Fiji will find regaining a democratic mantle tough going if the old guard involved in our quarter-century of national dramas continues to dominate the national discourse.
This is our time to build the nation we envision. But for us to do this we should be unafraid to emerge from the shadows into the national conscience, to raise our voices against injustice and prejudice.
We should be able to differ with each other without resorting to violence or stripping our detractors of their dignity; be willing to follow the rules we create; be magnanimous in victory and gracious in defeat. And if we are to accept – or seize – positions of power, we should be ready to acknowledge criticism as constructive and avoid taking it personally. We should be unafraid to hear out and examine ideas and viewpoints different from our own.
Like no other Pacific country, Fiji has been fated with a unique amalgam of ethnicities, with the iTaukei – the ‘Fijian’ in pre-2006 parlance – as the first peoples of this archipelago. But rather than be a cause of division, Fiji’s rainbow of ethnicities should be the centrepiece of a country whose peoples can put aside prejudices and bigotry and construct a free and just nation.
REPÚBLIKA is founded on these ideals.
The word REPÚBLIKA has its roots in the philosophical work titled The Republic recorded by the Greek philosopher Plato around 380 BC discussing, as Wikipedia summarises so well, the definition of justice, the just person and the order and character of the just city-state.
This publication is an addition to Fiji’s established Fourth Estate – the print media, news websites, radio and television. Some would question the sanity behind launching an independent media company in the middle of an ambivalent economy, and under the spectre of a new media dispensation. But I believe there has never been a better time. And Fiji deserves it.
In the past two months, Fiji has embarked on two crucial preludes to the restoration of much-vaunted “democracy”. The first round of electronic voter registration has been completed and the Constitution Commission is hearing from people across the country on what we want our new foundational law to look like. Despite the difficulties, it has never been a better time to observe and document the course of history. We will bring you refreshing perspectives, be the voice of reason, and the publication of record for Fiji.
We aim to regain some of the vibrancy of a free media, to act as a mirror on society without fear or favour. The Pacific – and Fiji – has not been immune to the ethical lapses that have been all too common in recent years in media establishments around the world so we anticipate being held to the same high standards we expect of our leaders and those we criticise.
REPÚBLIKA also recognises the inextricable link we share as Oceanians. We will explain Fiji to Oceania and explain Pasifika to Fijians.
We are independent, we aim to be informative and we will inspire you.
Source: 8104 Pacific Media Watch