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Deposed Government Lost Propaganda War

Deposed Government Lost Propaganda War, Says TV Journalist

* Pacific Media Watch Online:
http://www.pmw.c2o.org

By Shital Ram


USP Journalism Student

SUVA: Fiji Television journalist Riyaz Sayed-Khaiyum believes ousted Prime Minister Mahendra Chaudhry lost the "propaganda war" over the recent Fiji political crisis, saying the deposed Labour Party-led coalition government failed to communicate its policies to the public.

Speaking to journalism students at the University of the South Pacific last night, Sayed-Khaiyum said Chaudhry had the media "on the backfoot" from day one.

" It was a propaganda war between those trying to destabilise the government and the coalition government. And the coalition government lost the war because those trying to oust the government made more effective use of their propaganda."

Sayed-Khaiyum says the coalition government knew about the misrepresentations over indigenous land but it did not push strongly enough to have its side of the story heard.

The 1997 constitution contained safeguards over land and indigenous Fijian rights but this was not sufficiently understood by grassroots people.

He said education was the key to the future in Fiji.

Better understanding by the people of their rights and the constitutional and democratic system of government would pave the way for better understanding between people.

"I don't believe there is a big gap between the two major communities," he said. "Better education will help raise the understanding."

He expressed concern at how some people who openly supported rebel leader George Speight at the parliamentary complex after the May 19 takeover and the following spate of crimes were still freely walking the streets of Suva.

"Why are only George and his other guys on Nukulau? Why haven't charges being laid and investigations being carried out on the involvement of some other people implicated in the coup?" said Sayed-Khaiyum.

He reminded the media that it had a duty to push for those people to be investigated.

Sayed-Khaiyum was speaking at a journalism research workshop which featured the ABC Four Corners documentary "Cyclone George" by top Australian investigative journalism Chris Masters.

+++niuswire

PACIFIC MEDIA WATCH ONLINE: http://www.pmw.c2o.org

PACIFIC MEDIA WATCH is an independent, non-profit, non-government organisation comprising journalists, lawyers, editors and other media workers, dedicated to examining issues of ethics, accountability, censorship, media freedom and media ownership in the Pacific region. Launched in October 1996, it has links with the Journalism Program at the University of the South Pacific, Bushfire Media, the Australian Centre for Independent Journalism, and Pactok Communications, in Sydney and Port Moresby.

(c)1996-2000 Copyright - All rights reserved.

Items are provided solely for review purposes as a non-profit educational service. Copyright remains the property of the original producers as indicated. Recipients should seek permission from the copyright owner for any publishing. Copyright owners not wishing their materials to be posted by PMW please contact us. The views expressed in material listed by PMW are not necessarily the views of PMW or its members.

Recipients should rely on their own inquiries before making decisions based on material listed in PMW. Please copy appeals to PMW and acknowledge source.

For further information, inquiries about joining the Pacific Media Watch

listserve, articles for publication, and giving feedback contact Pacific

Media Watch at: E-mail: niusedita@pactok.net.au or: bfmedia@mpx.com.au Fax: (+679) 30 5779 or (+612) 9660 1804 Mail: PO Box 9, Annandale, NSW 2038, Australia or, c/o Journalism, PO Box 1168, Suva, Fiji New website: http://www.pmw.c2o.org


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