World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 


RA'S Pacific Beat On Fiji Double Murder Coverage

(NOTE: The following item compiled by James Panichi was broadcast on Radio Australia's Pacific Beat programme and the transcript is distributed by PMW with permission. © Radio Australia 17/7/1)

SUVA (Pacific Media Watch): Now to Fiji and concerns about media coverage of investigations into the murder of the country's Red Cross Director John Scott and his partner Gregory Scrivener earlier this month.

Over a week ago, a 23-year-old man, Apete Kaisau, was charged with the murder.

But by the time he appeared before a magistrate, the story of how he had allegedly killed the two men - along with possible motives for the killing - had already received extensive media coverage.

In fact, the media has been briefed regularly on the case from the moment police began investigating the killings, with much being made of Mr Scott's homosexuality and unsubstantiated allegations that he had sexually exploited younger men.

Much of the information on the case came from official statements by Police Commissioner Isikia Savua, even after charges had already been laid.

Fiji's Media Watch has condemned newspaper and television coverage of the killings as sensationalist and homophobic, arguing the media has allowed itself to be manipulated.

Media Watch's coordinator Swasti Chand told James Panichi that most of the responsibility for the reporting lies with Fiji's news editors.

CHAND: They are also partly to be blamed for not checking the stories that have been floating around or have been actually been printed or have been run for the consumers of media here in Fiji.

PANICHI: But if the police commissioner is making the statement is it fair to expect the media not to report the statements, which are being made by the highest of authorities?

CHAND: The whole matter, there is not actually arrests there as I agree the very fact that the highest police officer brings out this statement, the media is there, it will play right into the hands of the police commissioner, and you know we've had it once when the upheavals of May 19th, 2000, took place, the media played right into George Speight's hands and here we are again, we've witnessed this sort of thing, this negative portrayal and the media is to be blamed for it. I mean can we really blame the police commissioner?

PANICHI: It also comes down to the fact that the media had received inside information, behind the scenes information from investigating authorities, which would no doubt be very difficult to corroborate, so can the journalists be held accountable for these problems?

CHAND: I'm sure they can be held accountable for these problems. We haven't had a court case, nothing has been proved by the courts yet, it's just theories and rumours floating around, so the stories are not balanced, they are not fair.

PANICHI: What would be the solution to this problem though? Would it simply be the introduction of stronger contempt of law regulations to stop all reporting before and during the actual trial?

CHAND: I guess so, I mean just as we are seeing in the state trial, I think there should be a gag on reporting as to what the actual, you know the trial takes place in the courts, because whatever has been portrayed by the media at the moment there is no justification at all, it is just the media which is justifying the police commissioner's outburst, I'd call it rather, and you know when the police commissioner stands in front of the press and says, you know murders happen in Australia and New Zealand. In a way he's saying why shouldn't it happen in Fiji?

So these things really, and you know the grassroots people who are consumers of the media actually believe what they see and hear, what's going on in the media, what's being reported in the media. So I mean I say that the media in Fiji has to be blamed for all this mess that we are right in on the coverage of the murder of Mr John Scott and his partner.

And actually it has also created a fear among the gay community because one newspaper had a headline where the police blamed the intense hatred as a motive of the killer towards Mr Scott's homosexuality. So I mean the gay community is also living in fear at the moment.

* Swasti Chand, coordinator of Fiji Media Watch, speaking with James Panichi.

+++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)1996-2001 Copyright - All rights reserved.


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

At The UN: Paris Climate Agreement Moves Closer To Entry Into Force

The Paris Agreement on climate change moved closer toward entering into force in 2016 as 31 more countries joined the agreement today at a special event hosted by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. More>>

ALSO:

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The End Game In Spain (And Other World News)

The coverage of international news seems almost entirely dependent on a random selection of whatever some overseas news agency happens to be carrying overnight... Here are a few interesting international stories that have largely flown beneath the radar this past week. More>>

Amnesty/Human Rights Watch: Appalling Abuse, Neglect Of Refugees On Nauru

Refugees and asylum seekers on Nauru, most of whom have been held there for three years, routinely face neglect by health workers and other service providers who have been hired by the Australian government, as well as frequent unpunished assaults by local Nauruans. More>>

ALSO:

Other Australian Detention

Gordon Campbell: On The Censorship Havoc In South Africa’s State Broadcaster

Demands have included an order to staff that there should be no further negative news about the country’s President Jacob Zuma, and SABC camera operators responsible for choosing camera angles that have allegedly made the President ‘look shorter’ were to be retrained... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On A Bad Week For Malcolm Turnbull, And The Queen

Malcolm Turnbull’s immediate goal – mere survival – is still within his grasp... In every other respect though, this election has been a total disaster for the Liberals. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Bidding Bye Bye To Boris

Boris Johnson’s exit from the contest for Conservative Party leadership supports the conspiracy theory that he never really expected the “Leave” option to win the referendum – and he has no intention now of picking up the poisoned chalice that managing the outcome will entail... More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news