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Military says Fiji Times misreports

PEOPLE'S COALITION GOVERNMENT, FIJI

Military says Fiji Times misreports
Issue No: 416 26 January 2001

The military has joined the long list of organizations which say that the Fiji Times misreports and creates ethnic tension in Fiji.

In full page paid advertisements in the Fiji Sun and the Daily Post, the military stated:

"The RFMF has in the past several days found the Fiji Times and its editorials contemptible for its failure to correct its misguided reports".

The military was responding to the Fiji Times' story about the military giving a presentation to the President and the Qarase cabinet on Monday, its subsequent attempts to seek and publish anti-military comments, and an editorial which was called for the military to take a backseat and support Qarase's regime.

The military stated: "it is most unfortunate that the Fiji Times has chosen to sensationalise bits and pieces of the brief, which has succeeded in inciting public reaction even before the ruling has been delivered. It has, in the process, also succeeded in unnecessarily inducing public fear and anxiety contrary to the spirit in which the RFMF had intended to portray its position in relation to law and order and the rule of law. The assessment of likely scenarios were based on our genuine concerns and, if anything, was designed solely to stimulate awareness amongst those in authority; not cause confusion in the public mind as is the case now".

The statement concluded with an appeal "to the Fiji Times and other members of the media" to be more responsible in their reporting.

Earlier an independent academic had blamed the Fiji Times for running a relentless campaign against the democratic government of Fiji (see: http://www.pcgov.org.fj/archive/2000-12/no287.htm ).

A former deputy speaker of Parliament has also stated that the Fiji Times survives by running campaigns to destroy the credibility of democratically elected leaders, and has been known to be carrying an agenda of destroying ethnic Indian leaders particularly. Late late year the elected Prime Minister had blamed the Fiji Times of skirt journalism (see http://www.pcgov.org.fj/archive/2000-12/no243.htm; see also http://www.pcgov.org.fj/2000-11/no211.htm ).

This website has on numerous occassions highlighted the link between the Fiji Times' writer Margaret Wise and the Permanent Secretary in the Prime Minister's office, Jioji Kotobalavu. The Fiji Times is aware of the public perception of the Wise stories which have their sources as `anonymous government source', and source in the `cabinet', etc. Yet the newspaper management has refused to take any corrective action. One retired journalist stated that the skirt journalism ring spreads wider than civil servants and politicians and includes other persons with the establishment.

The recent article on the military briefing to which the military protested also had these two persons featuring prominently.

Many now believe that unless the Fiji Times takes stern action on the small group of politically partisan editorial staff, not only will the Fiji Times lose further credibility, but it will also tarnish the image of a whole lot of dedicated and professional journalists and managers associated with the Fiji Times.

END 26 January 2001

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