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Fiji Elections 2014 News

Fiji elections reporter scores double for diversity, Asia-Pacific journalism

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Award-winner Alistar Kata with Spasifik magazine publisher Innes Logan (left), Pacific Media Centre director professor David Robie and the Storyboard for diversity journalism at AUT University. Image: Michael Neilson/PMC

Pacific Scoop:
Report – By Michael Neilson

A student who was part of the award-winning team covering the Fiji elections last September picked up a rare award double at the AUT University’s School of Communications 2014 media awards this week.

Alistar Kata won two awards – the Spasifik Magazine Prize and Storyboard Award for diversity reporting, and also the Radio New Zealand International Award for Asia-Pacific journalism.

The awards recognise her work in reporting on diversity, especially issues in the Pacific. Read more »

Pacific Scoop student team wins Ossie award for Fiji elections coverage

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Danish student journalist Mads Anneberg on assignment for Pacific Scoop in the recent Fiji elections. Image: Mads Anneberg/Republika

Pacific Scoop:
Report – By the PMC news desk

Pacific Scoop has won a major student journalism award for its coverage of the Fiji post-coup general election in September for its team covering a “tumultuous political situation”.

The crew of three students – Mads Anneberg and Alistar Kata in Fiji, and anchor editor and reporter Tom Carnegie in Auckland – provided comprehensive multimedia coverage of the election campaign for two weeks, including the three-day “blackout”.

Judge Tania Bawden said the students’ multimedia experience and background research provided “wide-ranging insights” in their coverage to win the Best Use of Multimedia in the annual Ossie Awards for best student journalism in Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific. Read more »

SPECIAL REPORT: A Pacific milestone – the Fijiana 8s demonstrate women power

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Dr Jiko Luveni … Speaker of Parliament and Fiji First party president: Before she entered politics, Dr Luveni was a dentist. Image: Minfo

Last month’s Fiji general election was historic because it brought about the first Parliament that has gathered in Fiji in eight years. But also because it set a new record for women representation, reports Asia-Pacific Journalism.

Pacific Scoop:
Special Report – By Lucas Dahlström and Mads Anneberg

Some of Salote Radrodro’s friends didn’t think it was a good idea. Time wasn’t right, they said.

She felt the opposite. This was the time to stand, this was exactly the time to make it count.

So she ran for the Parliament of Fiji and got elected – one of the only 38 times a woman has succeeded in doing so since the country’s independence in 1970. Read more »

Meet Ricardo Morris, the battler for media freedom in post-coup Fiji


Pacific Scoop’s Mads Anneberg profiles Repúblika editor Ricardo Morris.

Pacific Scoop:
Report – By Mads Anneberg in Auckland

Ricardo Morris is fighting two battles.

pacificfijielections logo 200wideAs journalist, editor and publisher of Repúblika Magazine in Fiji, he works tirelessly to publish and promote his publication.

And as president of the Fijian Media Association, he works to promote freedom and liberties in a media landscape where military censorship prevailed until 2012.

On September 17, Fiji returned to a parliamentary democracy almost eight years after the military coup staged by military commander Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama – now the elected prime minister, a retired rear admiral with the strongest personal mandate of any national leader since independence. Read more »

Operation Wansolwara – a student journo’s video diary of the Fiji elections


Pacific Scoop’s Alistar Kata reflects on last week’s Fiji general election.

Pacific Scoop:
Commentary – By Alistar Kata in Auckland

Kia ora, kia orana … My name is Alistar Kata, a student journalist from New Zealand’s Auckland University of Technology.

pacificfijielections logo 200wideWith the support and on behalf of the Pacific Media Centre and AUT I had the opportunity to cover the 2014 Fijian General Election.

I worked on an internship with the University of the South Pacific’s journalism newspaper Wansolwara for 2 weeks.

Right from the time we touched down in Fiji, there was this atmosphere of excitement mixed with the feeling that something big and fate-changing was going to happen. Read more »

Fiji elections: Facing up to future challenges

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A polling official in Fiji’s election last week … elections seen as a success but improvements needed. Photo: Mads Anneberg/Republika

While last week’s Fiji general election has been heralded as an overall success by observers, the real test is likely to come with the 2018 election. Asia-Pacific Journalism looks at the positives of the new electoral system and what needs to be improved.

Pacific Scoop:
Analysis – By Thomas Carnegie in Auckland

With Fiji successfully holding its first general election in eight years last week, the nation can now reflect on what it has learnt and what needs to be done in the future.

pacificfijielections logo 200wideBeing Fiji’s first election with a proportional voting system, this marked a historic transition to democracy for the nation.

Overall the election process was success, a total of 83.9 percent of Fiji’s 591,101 registered voters voted. The multinational observer group which monitored the electoral process said the voting largely reflected the will of the people.

However, Romitesh Kant of the University of the South Pacific’s School of Government said in a panel discussion recently the real test would come in four years. Read more »

Bainimarama sworn in as Fiji’s elected PM after 8 years in control

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Voreqe Bainimarama being sworn in today as Prime Minister of Fiji by the President, Ratu Epeli Nailatikau. Image: Minfo

Pacific Scoop:
Report – By Priya Chand in Suva and the Pacific Scoop news desk

The leader of the Fiji First Party, Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama, was sworn in today as Prime Minister of Fiji.

pacificfijielections logo 200wideBainimarama took the oath of office of Prime Minister, promising to “be faithful and bear true allegiance to the Republic of Fiji”, and to defend the Constitution and obey the laws of Fiji.

The Prime Minister, who seized power in a coup almost 8 years ago in December 2006, was sworn in by President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau in the presence of Bainimarama’s wife, Mary, his children, and grandchildren, and dignitaries.

Bainimarama will leave for the United Nations in New York to address the General Assembly before returning to Fiji to form his cabinet. Read more »

Bainimarama claims victory and pledges to rule for ‘all Fijians’ – not special interests

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Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama at his victory speech at the thanksgiving rally at the National Stadium in Laucala Bay today. He is flanked by his wife, Mary, and Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum. Image: Ricardo Morris/Repúblika

Pacific Scoop:
Report – By Ricardo Morris of Repúblika Magazine

Fiji’s once military dictator is today a democratically elected Prime Minister.

pacificfijielections logo 200widePrime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama claimed victory for his Fiji First party at a thanksgiving service this morning at the National Stadium in Suva’s Laucala Bay, saying they had secured 32 seats in Fiji’s 50-seat parliament.

“This is a victory for all Fijians. This is when history will record that as a nation, we embraced a new future,” he said.

“I am the Prime Minister of all Fijians, for all Fijians. The days of pandering to special interests groups, elites and certain areas of the country are over.” Read more »

Electoral Commission chair rejects ‘unfounded’ Fiji poll rigging claims

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Electoral Commission chair Chen Bunn Young (left) and the Supervisor of Elections, Mohammed Saneem, at the media conference tonight in Suva. Image: Republika

Pacific Scoop:
Report – By the Republika Magazine team in Suva

Electoral Commission chairman Chen Bunn Young has rejected allegations of “corrupt and unlawful practices” in Fiji’s general election this week.

pacificfijielections logo 200wideIn a carefully written statement released to the media tonight, the commission addresses each issue raised by the five political parties yesterday in a formal complaint.

Young said he was disappointed that the complaints had caused “national angst” over the final result of the 2014 election.

The Supervisor of Elections, Mohammed Saneem, endorsed Chairman Young’s statement. Read more »

Democracy in Fiji a tender plant – now time to nourish it for the future

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Former Opposition Leader Mick Beddoes with “evidence” of election tampering … poor showing at the polls. Image: Republika

Pacific Scoop:
Commentary – By Dr Crosbie Walsh

Unfortunately, it had to happen but all is not lost.

pacificfijielections logo 200wideIt started with Fiji Labour Party leader and former Prime Minister Mahendra Chaudhry – deposed in the 2000 attempted coup – complaining about a minivan showing a Fiji First sticker during the blackout period and another alleged election breach when a disabled voter at St Joseph’s in Suva was assisted by an election officer with no witness present.

Then there were complaints that the counting had stopped when all that had stopped were the announcements, and Radio New Zealand International quoted an unnamed SODELPA official saying its agents had noted anomalies in the transmission and counting of votes, and Fiji Leaks claimed the Multinational Observer Group (MOG) were having “a good holiday in Fiji”.

And then someone calling himself Thakur Loha Singh on a blog said he’d heard of a polling station where the votes of relatives of a candidate mysteriously disappeared and the candidate ending up with a zero vote.” Read more »

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