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Commentary: Irony Of Ironies

USP Journalism back online: USP Journalism on the Fiji crisis (UTS host): Have your say:

by Laufaleaina Eli,
a Samoan student journalist
© USP Journalism Programme

APIA: I was in the editorial room on May 19 when news came in of the takeover at Fiji's Parliament of the Labour-led government by rebel leader George Speight and his group.

I was working on my story for Wansolwara about a review of the 1987 coups, when irony of ironies, another coup broke out.

All of us who were present in the Wansolwara editorial room and the newsroom sent out the latest updates via email of the events at Parliament to overseas news agencies.

We covered the crisis with a team of students doing on-the-spot reporting and monitoring all other news media.

News stories were filed for Wansolwara, our Pacific Journalism Online website and for other news services on the Internet, such as Pacific Islands Report in Hawaii and Scoop in New Zealand.

I stayed up in the newsroom until closing time. I came in the next day to file more stories for Wansolwara's website.

Around this time, negotiations were already underway for the immediate evacuation of the Samoan students from Fiji, so most of my time was spent at Samoan Students Association meetings or with other Samoan students to await news of our return, as we were told that we could leave at any time.

This prevented me from being up in the newsroom every day for more journalism work as I wanted to.

However, I did go down to Parliament with Losana and Noora one day.

We were told to write about our experiences when we got back, as George Speight kissed Noora on the cheek - he mistook her for an Indian.

I wrote an article about the ban on journalists from Parliament due to concerns about their safety this very same day, for the website.

I was constantly up in the newsroom helping with the writing of the latest updates and news stories.

Exactly one week after the coup started, all Samoan students in Fiji were taken back home to Samoa, unfortunately ending my link with Wansolwara and Pacific Journalism Online.


This document is for educational and research use only. Recipients should seek permission from the copyright source before reprinting. PASIFIK NIUS service is provided by the niusedita via the Journalism Program, University of the South Pacific. Please acknowledge Pasifik Nius:

© Scoop Media

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