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Qarase Says Journalists Lack Knowledge

Qarase Says Journalists Lack Knowledge And Can't Communicate

Issue No: 408 24 January 2001

Regime Prime Minister, Laisenia Qarase charges that Fiji's reporters are of poor quality and ignorant of current affairs.

In a speech launching a regional magazine, Qarase stated: "They [reporters] are uncertain interviewers, poor verbal communicators, have problems with accuracy and are short on knowledge of current affairs". The result of this, he asserted, is that coverage "sometimes compromise the ideals of a free press".

Qarase also expressed concern at the bias in news reporting: "Too often news reportage is coloured by a degree of bias reflecting a journalist's own preconceived ideas or sympathies. These shortcomings are particularly evident in the coverage of the important and racially sensitive issue of land and agricultural leases".

The media industry has not responded to Qarase's criticisms of the entire cadre of journalists in Fiji. This is unlike the war which the media had launched against the elected Prime Minister's condemnation of the reporting of a few named journalists in 1999.

Ironically, the criticisms echo the analysis contained in an academic paper by David Robie, which the Fiji Times and PINA had bitterly criticised. The Fiji Times had even gone to the extent of writing to the University of the South Pacific, Robie's employer, suggesting that it to sack Robie. One academic from the USP commented: "Perhaps the Fiji Times will now write to the President asking him to sack Qarase for maligning journalists".


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