Tanya Waqanika told Pacific Beat yesterday she and chief executive Tevita Gonelevu were 'let go' after pressure from the Minister of Communications, Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum.
The sackings follow a decision by World Rugby to pull the plug on the screening of the Dubai Sevens after Khaiyum introduced a decree that took the rights off Fiji TV and gave it instead to FBC.
International publicity and condemnation followed with Fiji and Khaiyum publicly embarrassed.
In the interview with Pacific Beat, Waqanika rejected the suggestion the decision to sack her and Gonolevu was a unanimous one.
"I don't think its the Government," she said.
"It's one particular minister ...... Minister of Communication whose blatantly come out and made accusations and management at Fiji TV."
Waqanika and Gonelevu were told by the board on Tuesday they had lost their jobs but it took media reports to confirm the reason: the Fijian Holdings Ltd board had done it to secure a 12 year licence.
The station had until now been forced to operate on a six month licence after a fall out with Khaiyum several years ago.
Waqanika told Pacific Beat the sacking was unjustified.
"I've done nothing wrong, worked with integrity and righteousness and always followed what the board told and worked in the interest of shareholders.
"......We were made a sacrificial lamb."
Fiji TV has been targeted by Khaiyum because it's the biggest rival to FBC, which is run by his brother Riyaz Sayed Khaiyum.
If anyone is still in doubt, the sackings show while Fiji considers it has a democratically elected government, this is a Christmas fantasy.
The ways and the self-interests of the regime and Khaiyum are still at play.
To give them their due the Opposition is doing its job.
The Opposition Whip Ratu Isoa Tikoca for example says Voreqe Bainimarama must remove Khaiyum as Minister of Communications or instruct Khaiyum to sack his brother as CEO of FBC.
He says the current situation is the 'mother of all conflicts' and cannot be allowed to continue.
Tikoca also reminded everyone that former prime minister Laisenia Qarase had been sent to jail for 12 months for an alleged conflict of interest that had occurred nearly 20 years ago and yet a 'glaring and continuing conflict of interest with severe financial consequences' goes unpunished.
Opposition MP Biman Prasad says Waqanika and Gonelevu should be reinstated and inquiry held.
Tanya Waqanika has shared these facts about Fiji TV:
DID YOU KNOW- Fiji TV is the name
of the company. No one is employed by Fiji One or Sky Pacific.
of the company. No one is employed by Fiji One or Sky Pacific.
How many TV Stations does Fiji TV have?
Two (2) TV stations (Fiji One and Sky Pacific)-
a) Fiji One (Free to air - viewers can watch free via a terrestrial signal (antenna) or a digital signal (Sky Pacific).
b) Sky Pacific transmits on a digital platform and it has 25 channels (inclusive of Fiji One channel on its Sky PAC platform).
FBC and Mai TV only transmits on a terrestrial signal and both only have 1 TV station with 1 channel each. Free to air means - free to the viewers.
"Coverage"- actual physical area/s in Fiji that can receive a TV signal. "Viewership" means what each actual household is watching on their TV sets. A vital difference between the 2 is that you can change your viewership by changing the channel on your TV set.
Coverage can only be changed by adding another TV transmitter or satellite signal to increase the physical area in Fiji that can receive a TV signal. Basically, so long as the public has coverage, than viewership can be changed by pressing a button a TV set.
Fiji TV has 85% coverage of Fiji via a terrestrial signal (all those towers you see on the hilltops where all Telcos (FBC, Mai TV, Digicel, cfl, visa phone,etcetera). FTV has 12 transmitter towers - 9 on Viti Levu, 1 Malake (Ra), 1 (Delaikoro - Labasa) & 1 (Vunisea, Kadavu). FBC has 7 transmitter towers and Mai TV has about 3.
Terrestrial - you catch the signal with an Antenna.
Digital signal- only SKY Pacific.
None of these 3 TV broadcasters have transmitter towers in Rotuma, Lau Group, Yasawa Group, Lomaiviti Group, Beqa and some other remote areas of Fiji. eg- FTV's transmitter tower in Vunisea can only be seen the areas close to Vunisea. For those in kadavu(areas of Nakasaleka, Ono, etc- they cannot view Fiji One on a terrestrial signal. Same as well for those in Vanua Levu- only those close to Delaikoro can receive the terrestrial signal.
How then does one in Savusavu, Taveuni, Rotuma, other parts of Kadavu, Lomaiviti Grp, Lau, etc view Fiji One- purchase a Sky Pacific and receive the signal on a digital platform. Normal price for Sky is $99.00.
Roadshow prices were $50 & $70 respectively.- total equipment inclusive of installation costs. Sky Pacific prices are much cheaper than buying an antenna to view any of the 3 TV broadcasters( antenna prices range between $80-$120) and this is not inclusive of installation costs if done by professionals. The rural and remote dwellers purchase SKY and receive a crystal clear digital signal and watch Fiji One (only) for FREE.
They opt not to take up the sky pacific remaining 24 channels and pay the monthly fee of $49 (approx $1.63 per day to watch 25 channels). We has visitors from upper Naitasiri(only 20mins) from Monasavu. None watch the 3 TV stations on a terrestrial platform- cannot catch. But, a handful have sky pacific and boy do they watch only Fiji One. Certainly makes their day when they see our celebrities (Breakfast Show hosts, Music Masti host, Chef Lance Seeto, etc) walking through the building. They know who they are because they watch Fiji One on a digital platform.
What is SKY PACIFIC's coverage - 100% of Fiji and 12 other Pacific Island countries Tonga, Samoa, American Samoa, PNG (population of 7.6m- covers the entire country and no other broadcaster in PNG delivers the same), Vanuatu, New Caledonia, Cook Islands, Niue, Kiribati, Tuvalu, Nauru, Tahiti and French Polynesia, Tokelau. That's why Fiji One presenters will always acknowledge its Pacific viewers/communities during the Coke Games, Mana Choral Fest, News, Breakfast Show, etc because they are watching LIVE on their time Zones all the sky PAC programs and Fiji one channel as well. Sky PAC is in 12 Pacific Island leaders homes. When we have visitors from the Pacific Islands visiting Fiji TV - their faces lit up when they seethe Breakfast Show hosts- Mavis Gaunavou and Taitusi and also the rest of Fiji TV celebrities.
How big is Sky Pac's coverage- In fact, Sky Pac's signal goes up to Indonesia, parts of Aust, NZ, Parts of China), Etc. There are about 3-4 Sky Pacific decoders in our Fiji diplomats residences and office in Beijing and Shangai and they watch all 25 channels on Sky PAC. All the Pay per view local rugby games- they paid and were watching. In fact, it would be strategic for our Embassies where Sky Pacific signal reaches to have Sky PAC in the embassy. So when investors want to know what Fiji is all about- show them Fiji One and Pacific Channel(channel on Sky PAC). They will know our country through the 55% minimum local programs produced and broadcast by Fiji TV(Noda Gauna, sigi Drigi, Talk Business, News, Total Sports, Taste of Paradise, Breakfast Show and many more. Fiji TV produces around 50 local Programs per annum (not including local programs from SPC,etc). It's competitors cannot even produce 1/3 of what Fiji TV does.
Fiji TV is NOT just Fiji's No 1 broadcaster- it is the biggest and leading Pacific Broadcaster in the Pacific(No 1) - became No 1 in the Pacific when Sky PAC was launched. Not even Australia and NZ broadcasters have the coverage that Sky PAC has.
"The difference is certainly clear now"