|Engaging: SDL, FLP and UPP. pic Fiji Live|
The electronic voter registration will bring free and fair elections - just as the media has been providing open and fair coverage.
Well, so the regime would have us believe.
Voreqe Bainimarama and Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum launched the $9 million advertising campaign yesterday with media today heralding the EVR system as the leveller of all past political impurities.
Yet while Khaiyum claims the registration programme 'is the start of fair and free elections' which will fix the 'anomalies of the past', the process to bring Utopia to Fiji in this latest lap has been less than open and fair.
Look no further than at how the regime hogs the headlines, using media to push its message while bullying news teams behind the scenes.
We said it in our original story and say it again today: the regime threatened to take Fiji TV's licence after it interviewed Laisenia Qarase and Mahendra Chaudhry over the comment of a Constitution Commission member that political parties of the past are responsible for where Fiji is now.
In recent weeks, some media teams have tried to bring both sides of the story but essentially news organisations have carried the banner for the regime. Hence the arrogance of the regime to scoff "The government doesn’t have time for critics" as it has done in today's state owned FBC News.
According to FBC, "The government has copped endless criticisms from politicians and others, calling on the military to step down, and that the 1997 constitution was the best."
FBC quotes Bainimarama as saying: "I don’t have time for critics right now except to say that we started this process and we will see it to the end. You can tell Chaudhry, Beddoes, Qarase, the women’s forum that we started this and we will end it."
Bainimarama and Khaiyum will find, though, that the political parties are engaging - and will continue to challenge the media bias as the United Peoples Party president, Mick Beddoes, was prompted to this week. See below his statement, which we have edited, and his letter to the Fiji Sun.
The UPP President Mick Beddoes has called on the Fiji Sun and its Deputy Editor Maika Bolatiki and Col Tikoitoga to play by the rules set out in the Media Industry Decree 29 in particular Schedule 1 Media Code of Ethics and Practice which applies equally to them as much as it does to others’.
Beddoes says he has seriously considered lodging a formal complaint, but has opted to give the Fiji Sun another opportunity to present what he says is a ‘fair and balanced’ coverage of the debate between Col Tikoitoga and he and others.
The UPP leader says Col Tikoitoga’s was quoted as saying ‘we only have one fear and that is returning the country to corrupt leaders’ unquote. He went on to say the UPP, SDL and FLP were in government when the military took over leadership in 2006.
He says Tikoitoga’s reference to him being part of the Government in 2006 in factually incorrect – he was the Opposition Leader at the time. Beddoes says "In the interest of transparency and fairness, Col Tikoitoga should name the corrupt political leaders he is referring to? And the evidence he has to warrant such a claim?"
Beddoes says while he supports any efforts to stamp out corruption; it needs to be done under a fully democratic system of government where the officers of the state and judiciary are accountable for their actions and decisions and any accused given the right of appeal or redress.
"With reference to Col Tikoitoga’s call for politicians to make constructive and not destructive criticisms about the military and government Beddoes said this could easily come about if the Military Command did what it has always been tasked to do and that is uphold the constitution of Fiji, protect the citizens of Fiji from any external threat and basically honor the oath they have all sworn and become subservient to the elected government of the people."
Beddoes says if Tikoitoga believes as he does that the people of Fiji are a peace loving, God fearing good and decent people, he will also know that none of them deserve to be treated in such a disrespectful and oppressive manner.
He says it was never too late for a change in strategy because like any battle plan, regrouping, redeploying or withdrawing are all options available to the Military Command to consider in order to ensure a good outcome for their troops and the people they are defending.
June 12, 2012
Fairness, impartiality and Balance
In the recent past I have had some experience with what your newspapers calls Fair-Impartial and balanced reporting.
On Saturday 10th Fiji sun, you printed an ‘Opinion’ I gave in response to that given by your contributing journalist Graham Davis’s opinion entitled M.A.D. You did not extend the same courtesy to me that you do to him and instead used my opinion as a letter to the editor which it was not? And you decided to edit the opinion.
In fairness Mr Davis acknowledged receipt of my release and posted it to his blog.
Also in Saturday 10th Fiji Sun you ran the front page headline ‘Don’t Mess with Army’ and your Deputy Editor carried comments from both Frank Bainimarama and Col Tikoitoga basically threatening a few of us political leaders and some of the women participants at the recent Women’s Forum in Suva.
I took issue with Col Tikoitoga’s threat and sent your Deputy Editor Maika Bolatiki my response to the threat and in his article today Fiji Sun 12 June, he virtually re-ran the Saturday front page and allowed Col Tikoitoga the full benefit of responding to my statement while selecting the use of just 2 words mind you, 2 words ‘exercise restraint’ from my 440 word statement?
I am curious? What part of Fairness, impartiality and Balance in reporting does this fall under? I am not asking about its credibility or even the moral integrity used to justify such reporting, as it’s pretty obvious to all where that lies, I am just curious to understand how you determine that this type of reporting represents Fairness, impartiality and Balance?
EDITOR'S NOTE: So what does Bainimarama mean by
'we started this and we will end it?' Political parties pick up on the threats from Bainimarama: see below for their latest statement.