FIJI: NZ Academic Slams Fiji Govt Attack On Media
Source: Fiji Daily Post
Article provided by the Journalism Programmme, University of the South Pacific. Pacific Media Watch
journalism lecturer has slammed the personal attacks on
media by the Fiji Government, calling it an "inability" to appreciate
the appropriate relationship between the legislature and the media.
Ingrid Leary, who has resigned from her post at
University of the South Pacific, added a new dimension to the threat of
media legislation in the country, saying the attacks could be part of an
She said that in any true
democracy this relationship would exhibit
"What these attacks effectively do is alienate
the Government from the
people because no matter how justified the criticisms of the media, the
people will always identify with the media more than any government,"
"My perception from talking to
people on buses, in shops and the rural
areas is that the Government has completely under-estimated the
intelligence of the people and that by continuing these attacks, members
of Parliament are in fact shooting themselves in the foot," she added.
Ms Leary, who has
resigned to spend time with her family in New
does not believe the recent general criticisms are unwarranted.
However, the abuse of parliamentary
privilege to basically defame
journalists, she said, would do nothing to improve the hostile
relationship between Government and the media.
"The bitterness of the
attack does make one wonder if there is an
orchestrated campaign to try to swing public favour towards legislative
media restrictions," she said.
"It would be
interesting to see how such moves would be received.
just by the media but by the people on the streets who really do seem to
have an appreciation of the importance of media freedom," she added.
Ms Leary has been
offered a lucrative job offer in New Zealand.
this is not a reason for her resignation.
wish to spend more time with family has finally come true
opening for an independent contractor with Touch Down Productions, a
company producing television programmes for TV1, TV2 and TV3.
Ms Leary paid tribute to
journalism coordinator David Robie for the
tremendous work he has done with the programme, but criticised USP for
its "inflexibility and bureaucratic" nature.
has turned the programme into a credible and solid
ground for regional students. I have thoroughly enjoyed teaching
regional students and it has made me hopeful for great stories from the
region," she said.
"A problem which we had was appointing a fulltime
radio lecturer which
was impossible with USP's rules and regulations."
* The job description and other details for
this position will be posted
on Pacific Journalism Online http://www.usp.ac.fj/journ/ as soon as it
has been advertised by the university next week.
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