By Tupuola Terry Tavita
Am I missing something? Or is Suva-based Matilda Bogner the biggest hypocrite in the region.
Carrying the mouthy title of regional representative of the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (UN OHCHR), Ms Bogner this week issued an invective against an embattled Vanuatu cabinet minister – and the Vanuatu government – for alleged obstruction of media freedom in that country.
This while meekly hiding under the skirt of the biggest media bully in the region and happily turning a blind eye to the daily breaches of media freedom in Fiji. Its draconian extremes never experienced before in this part of the world.
Said Ms Bogner, “The failure to impose a credible punishment on a minister of the Vanuatu government for leading an assault on a newspaper editor and the alleged attempts by another minister to interfere in the broadcasting and publication of information on his conduct raises serious concerns in Vanuatu regarding freedom of the media.”
Fair enough. But where is her office’s concern for the detainment and torture of journalists and the daily interference of the military government on media publication/broadcast in Fiji? The severe lack of media freedom that’s happening right under her nose?Ms Bogner is a hypocrite, a coward and a fake.
This is the woman – in recent months, despite a mountain of evidence – could not mention the oppressive Fiji military and torture in the same sentence, when asked by the media.
She is one of the many international parasites in Suva happily feasting on global taxpayer dollars but failing miserably to raise the issue of human rights violations, of torture and murder committed by the military regime.
And now dishing out hollow lectures and patronizing homilies about media freedom across the seas, from the safety of her Suva office.
While soldiers occupy the newsrooms outside her door, Ms Bogner pontificates about media freedom in another country.
Why? Because the poor minister is a sitting duck. He’s already been exposed and ostracized by local and international media and Ms Bogner could not help but stick in her own one, two. She’s also quite happy to take all the plaudits for it from the alphabet media freedom groups who are forever looking out for higher support for their cause.
But don’t hold your breath. She will not lift a finger for media freedom in Fiji nor make a stand on barefaced abuse of human rights at her doorstep because, then, she will either be on the first flight home or the military regime and Fiji authorities will make things very difficult for the UN OHCHR office.Just ask the Forum Secretariat who are having to put up with things like lengthy visa and wharf clearance delays because it refuses to budge to Bainimarama’s demands.
Until the UN OHCHR makes a stand on media freedom in Fiji, Ms Bogner has no business wagging the finger at Vanuatu.
Tupuola Terry Tavita is the editor of Samoa's Savali newspaper.