A senior police officer has blamed the media for forcing the interim regime to abolish the 1997 Constitution.
Sources say that while interviewing one of the two Fijilive journalists detained for two days, Police Director of Operations, Waisea Tabakau, said the media were to blame.
Shelvin Chand and Dionisia Turagabeci were arrested and detained for reporting and posting a story on Fijilive online last Saturday about the release of eight soldiers and a police officer convicted of manslaughter for the brutal killing of Nadi teenager Sakiusa Rabaka, in February 2007.
Tabakau told the Fijilive journalist the abrogation of the Constitution must be borne by the media because it (the media) placed too much emphasis on the rule of law and the regime’s adherence to the Constitution, either by way of comment from anti-coup critics or media commentaries.
The interim prime minister, Frank Bainimarama, and the attornye general, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, blamed the Court of Appeal ruling of April the 9th for crucifying the Constitution on Good Friday.
But sources say it is becoming clear with the prolonged delay in the new appointments to the judiciary, that the media is being made the scapegoat.
Since the coup of 5th December 2006 media bashing has included:
- The deportation of three newspaper publishers(2 from Fiji Times and 1 from Fiji Sun)
- The Fiji Times was convicted by the High Court of contempt in January 2009 and fined $100,000 with Rex Gardner, publisher deported after the case, as well as Editor Netani Rika placed on good behaviour bond and warned not to re-offend. The newspaper had allowed the publication of a Letter to the Editor that was critical of the judiciary following the ruling by three High Court judges led by the then CJ Anthony Gates legitimising the overthrow of Laisenia Qarase’s government and appointment of the interim regime headed by Frank Bainimarama. Ironically, the judge who handed down the ruling, Thomas Hickie, is now back in Australia and is highly critical of the regime.
- The unprecedented level of censorship imposed on the media since April the 10th following the abrogation of the Constitution
- Arrest and detention of five journalists under Public Emergency Regulations from April the 13th to May the 14th