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Fiji Times – newspaper or activist? New publisher pledges ‘cheerful criticism’

 

Fiji Times

Mahendra Motibhai Patel: New owner of Murdoch's News Ltd title The Fiji Times. Photo: David Robie/PMC

A media decree that forced Rupert Murdoch’s News Ltd to sell The Fiji Times to a local company has bitterly divided media commentators.

Pacific Scoop:
Report – By Siobhan Keogh

The headlines in New Zealand were sensational. Several newspapers called it a “crackdown on media freedom” in Fiji.

News Ltd, a company owned by the biggest media mogul the world has ever seen, was being forced by a Fiji government decree to sell at least 90 percent of the newspaper to locals.

The message was clear – foreign interests were to get out of the Fiji media. Read more »

Fiji bloggers fail to offer ‘credible alternatives’ for country’s future, says academic

Fiji torn flagBlogs in Fiji have have largely escaped the grasp of the iron fist controlling the rest of the country’s media, but they have not fulfilled their potential as a forum of “free and constructive discussion”.

Pacific Scoop
Report – By Hamish Fletcher

Although blogs provide a space for political dissent in Fiji, they are failing to generate a “positive dialogue” about the nation’s future, says a prominent political commentator.

Blogging has long been a way of publishing anti-government material in Fiji and of bypassing the self-censorship of the mainstream media which are often unwilling to rock the boat. Read more »

Fiji’s ‘painful process’ could lead to better democracy, says blogger academic

Professor Crosbie Walsh ... critic of Fiji's previous "corrupt" democracy. Photo: PMC

Pacific Scoop
Report – By Alex Perrottet

A former University of the South Pacific professor says Fiji could not achieve a full democracy without going through its current post-coup “painful process” under a military-backed regime.

Speaking on Radio New Zealand’s Bryan Crump Nights programme last night, Professor Crosbie Walsh said:

“There is no way you are going to produce anything approaching what you might call a democracy unless you went through the painful process that we are going through at the moment.” Read more »

Special Feature: Inside Fiji’s shoes and why NZ and Australia need to rethink strategically

Fiji's military regime leader and Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama. (Photo by Selwyn Manning, courtesy of Scoop.)

Pacific Scoop:
Analysis – By Crosbie Walsh.

Pacific Scoop Editor’s Note: Emeritus professor of the University of the South Pacific, Crosbie Walsh, has written a special feature on Fiji, examining beyond the veneer of reportage in a three-part analysis piece.

Prof. Walsh’s work is thought provoking, probing, always controversial and consequently raises issues that stimulate a well overdue debate. This series was first published on his blog: Fiji The Way It Was, Is and Can Be. Read more »

RNZ’s exclusion of Walsh’s analysis concerns Pacific media educator

Has an anti-regime line caused an imbalance in Radio New Zealand's editorial policy, stacking its commentators to favour a sympathetic New Zealand Government line, that excludes all others? (Photo-composition by PMC news desk).

AUT University media academic and Pacific affairs commentator Dr David Robie has questioned Radio New Zealand’s apparent exclusion of fellow academic Crosbie Walsh from speaking on Fiji on its Nights programme. On his Café Pacific blog Dr Robie critiques Radio New Zealand’s coverage of Fiji affairs and compares it to worrying trends set by Radio Australia. The following opinion-piece is courtesy of Café Pacific. Read more »

Michael Field: Another blogger who gets it wrong?

New Zealand-based Pacific affairs reporter, Michael Field. Image: crosbiew.blogspot.com.

Justice Nazhat Shameem. Image: crosbiew.blogspot.com.

Pacific Scoop:
Opinion – By Crosbie Walsh

In a recent blog posting headed “Fiji Media Joins the Coup” well-known Pacific affairs journalist Michael Field called Nazhat Shameem a “coup perpetrators … a key player in the judicial coup that sacked a chief justice and … a close adviser of Bainimarama.” And then went on to write, “Without even the vaguest nod of consultation with the public, Shameem and Bainimarama have come up with some kind of decree defining crime.” The article has prompted Crosbie Walsh to challenge Michael Field over the facts… Read more »

Diplomacy with Fiji – the regime should build bridges not threaten them

Lieutenant-Colonel Neumi Leweni (right) with regime leader Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama. Photo: PMC

Pacific Scoop:
Opinion – By Crosbie Walsh

Having spent 20 minutes on Radio New Zealand in an interview with Bryan Crump this week, arguing a case that the nomination of Lieutenant-Colonel Neumi Leweni – the regime’s chief media minder –  as Fiji diplomatic counsellor in Wellingon is not provocative, I read that Brigadier-General Pita Driti said on Radio Tarana that Fiji is “testing” New Zealand’s sincerity. Read more »

Boosting Fiji engagement a wise move towards encouraging democracy

Regime leader Voreqe Bainimarama ... "bans are little more than an inconvenience, but mark Australia and New Zealand out as particularly mean-spirited and petty". Photo: Selwyn Manning, Scoop

Pacific Scoop:
Analysis – By Scott MacWilliam

Now that New Zealand has started to recognise the need to change its previous hard-line against the military regime in Fiji, a range of suggestions are being made about the most appropriate policy changes.

One move, proposed recently by Croz Walsh, is for the removal of travel sanctions which have discouraged some of Fiji’s most talented people from applying for government positions. Read more »

‘Step by step’ – how NZ can really help Fiji towards democracy

Murray McCully ... crucial meeting with Ratu Inoke Kubuabola. Photo: AFP

Pacific Scoop:
Opinion – By Crosbie Walsh

Murray McCully’s recent statements on Fiji suggest a much more realistic appraisal of the situation than was evident under the former Labour-led government, and an improvement on his own earlier statements.

McCully’s meeting with Fiji Foreign Minister Ratu Inoke Kubuabola last week will bolster diplomatic representation. It did not change NZ’s basic position — elections with which it is prepared to assist in whatever ways it can — but it was a crucial first step. Read more »

‘First strike’ method in Bainimarama’s long-term strategy for Fiji?

Regime leader Voreqe Bainimarama ... vindictive moves, or part of a wider strategy? Photo: Selwyn Manning, Scoop

Pacific Scoop:
Opinion – By Crosbie Walsh

Something’s going on. After months of easing tensions– no fresh reports of possible human rights abuse, supportive statements from many in Fiji, from blogs such as mine and many overseas commentators culminating in the McCully-Kubuabola statements this week, slighter better relations between Fiji government and the Fiji Times, and better than expected economic news despite the recent cyclone — we have a rash of “aggressive” actions by government, all within the span of a few days. Read more »

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