Tuesday, September 25, 2012
Sunday, September 23, 2012
To think you once worked for theTo give
BBCworld service which has a proud tradition of delivering unbiased news to the repressed people of the world. What would your fellow journalists from the BBChave to say about one of their former colleagues being paid to peddle propaganda for a dictator. You have sold out. You are a Judas and you can no longer call yourself a journalist.
Understand that every word written from
on Davis from now on will be written to a brief from Qorvis and the Ministry of Information. Every word will now be approved by them. This is nothing new for Fiji as he has been working for them unpaid for a number of months in order to get the contract. Davis
Graham is a sell out: Can you give me another example of an award winning journalist being paid by a dictator’s PR firm who writes independently and objectively on the dictatorship?
Graham Davis: Were I to have embraced my opinions as a direct result of my relationship with Qorvis, you would have a point. But my support for the multiracial agenda of the Bainimarama government is long-standing and pre-dates the relationship by many years. Nice try, though.
Graham is a sell out: You claim your views have not been changed by payment so let me re-word my question. Can you think of any other award winning journalist who shared exactly the same views and opinions as human rights abusing dictator?
Graham Davis: I will not be interrogated by an anonymous, faceless nobody. I have given you an answer. This is merely rude and gratuitous. Bugger off.
Graham is a sell out: I have been taken to the camp for expressing my views and so I wish to remain anonymous.. Though I am a bit of a showoff and I would love to speak openly so I will tell you what. You start exposing the Human Rights abuses of this regime and do some investigative journalism on
, instead of your regime puff pieces, and I will post on grubsheet under my real name. Fiji
Graham Davis: Honestly, aren’t we Mr Goody Two Shoes personified. Human rights abuses? What about the abuse of the human rights of 40 per cent of the population by the Qarase Government? You choose to cast me as a spin doctor for the dictator. Fine. But what are you doing to assist
back to democratic rule? Hide behind a mask and spruik self-indulgent, self-righteous cant. Again. Bugger off. Fiji
Graham is a sell out: Maybe the next time I meet you at Dilip’s, I will let slip my true feelings and we can have a debate. Sorry not going to happen because now you are a fully paid up informer of the regime.Graham Davis: So you are in my social circle but you still haven’t got the guts to reveal yourself. How pathetic is that? . . . Citing a friend of mine like you have is a complete disgrace. My opinions are mine, not his. And to drag him into this shows what a low-life you are.Graham is a sell out: I know his opinions are not yours. As for me being a low life. That may be true. But I have not sold my principles and my credibility for a few lousy bucks.Dilip is no doubt
lawyer Dilip Jamnadas, who is said to be one of Grubsheet’s prime sources of information. Graham is a sell out must have really struck a nerve with Grubby, because Davis never once again engaged his newfound bête noire on subsequent comments he made on the blog entry that was meant to excoriate me. Instead it seems to have blown up in Grubby’s face in more ways than one. Thanks, I really enjoyed that, Graham is a sell out. But you didn’t have to go to all that trouble. No one seems to have noticed that Suva indicted himself in the very first reply he made to a comment on that blog post. In tut-tutting with my foe Thakur Ranjit Singh, Davis let it slip that he has been paid for some time to launch online attacks against me. “I have nothing personal against Marc Edge,” he started to argue before likely realizing no one would buy that line of twaddle. Davis
No, that’s not true. I am annoyed that he has attacked me publicly for doing my job, and especially for raising the legitimate public interest issue of whether he used his position as a senior USP academic to gain a personal benefit from a commercial entity.
was referring, of course, to the Fiji Times “advertorial” I appeared in touting the Suva Point Apartments, which he claimed was unethical for a journalism educator. He demanded to know if I had received anything in return for my endorsement of the new apartment complex on Davis Fletcher Roadin Vatuwaqa, where I was the first tenant to move in and which I highly reccomend to anyone. I pointedly ignored his demand until he threatened to take it up with the USP hierarchy and to launch a complaint against the Times with the Media Authority. To save those busy people from being bothered by Grubby, I happily denied taking anything from the Times. He and others have ever since been demanding to know if I received anything from my landlord in exchange for appearing in the article, which I have again ignored, but which I will be happy to deny now.
But it was last May when Graham attacked me for this and other things. He claims his blog is just a “hobby.” But he now admits he has been annoyed with me for some time for fighting back against his blog attacks, or as he puts it, “for doing my job.” Well, a job is something you get paid for, right? It seems the Qorvis quid pro quo has been going on for awhile. Gotcha again, Graham.
Wednesday, September 12, 2012
It appears that a culture of self-censorship continues to exist for journalists in
. A preliminary media content analysis conducted recently by my office, comparing Fiji’s two main daily newspapers, the Fiji Times and the Fiji Sun, before and after the lifting of the Fiji PER, suggests that there has been no distinguishable change in the level of criticism of the Fiji Government observed in either newspaper.
Then there are the women's rights groups in Fiji that say they had newspaper advertisements rejected that highlighted issues concerning the ongoing constitutional review process. Shamima Ali of the Fiji's Women's Crisis Centre said two weeks ago that both daily newspapers in Fiji told them to tone down the language in the ads.
"One of them wanted to have a meeting to tone down the ad, which we refused to do, and a spokesperson from there said 'I hope you understand'," she said. "The other said 'sorry we can't', after deliberating on it for nearly two and a half days."Talk about a climate of fear. They're even reportedly turning down advertising, which newspapers rarely do. And just yesterday, the Fiji Labour Party demonstrated that it, too, was labouring under an illusion in its submission to the Contitutional Commission hearings. "The media in Fiji continues to operate as though it is still under strict censorship," it said. "Indeed, the environment is still quite substantially coercive and threatening." It cited the Television (Amendment) Decree 52, under which the licence of any television station that contravenes the 2010 Media Decree can be revoked by the minister responsible without appeal, as an example of press intimidation. "We do not have an independent, free, liberated media in Fiji. The fines for incurring the wrath of the regime are so excessive that no media organization would dare fall foul of it."
The repercussions of such a cowed media are fatal for the success of a “free and open” consultation process. Articles, opinions or comments that question the regime or oppose its views are rarely, if ever, run. For instance, not a single mention was made in the news pages of the Fiji Times of the Constitution Commission’s media conference held on 19 July 2012. The Fiji Times ran a feature article two days later buried in the inside pages of its publication. How many people would have read the strong criticism voiced by Commission Chair Professor Yash Ghai, particularly of Decrees 57 and 58?At our symposium last week, the topic of self-censorship became a bit of a sore point. CFL news director Vijay Narayan, who never responded to my attempts to recruit him to sit on a panel on this topic at our symposium, appeared anyway in his role as a journalist and made a speech from the front row. "Everyone who is commenting on claims that there is widespread self-censorship in the country are making comments without any proper surveys conducted with journalists and media outlets,” he said. To which Fiji Times lawyer Richard Naidu deliciously retorted: “To suggest that the media is not operating under a set of self-censorship rules means that one of us is on the wrong planet.” Watch the video here. In reporting on this controversy today, Alex Perrottet interviewed Fiji TV's legal manager, Tanya Waqanika, who said that Fiji journalists are still afraid to ask tough questions because of the penalties contained in the Media Decree. “The journalists, they see the penalties,” she told Perrottet. "If you were in that situation, and there’s a court case currently against the Fiji Times, for any person, it freaks them out. No one wants to be fined.” Perrottet, who is researching his Master's thesis on this topic at Auckland University of Technology, even gave us a preview of his research on AUT's website Pacific Media Centre.
So I don't know why CFL is shooting at me every day. I'm not even the messenger. I'm only an educator. And I obviously have a lot of work to do.There is extensive evidence that due to censorship, the print media in Fiji is suffering from self-censorship, as they are not sure where the line will be drawn by the government.
He also said that we were rude and thinks that we are running a newsroom like BBC Hardtalk.
Media must use straightforward means to obtain information. . . . Use of subterfuge, false identity, or covert recording to do so can be justified only in rare circumstances where the material sought ought to be published in the public interest and could not be obtained in any other way.
Interviews for print, electronic media, radio and television must be arranged, conducted, and edited fairly and honestly. Potential interviewees are entitled to know in advance the format, subject, and purpose of their interview. . . .
Sunday, September 9, 2012
Your reporter has given no insights into what it is actually about. My interview with your reporter has been reduced to two selective sentences in your newspaper, which is hardly fair and balanced journalism. “Why” is a fundamental tenet of news reporting yet your story does not provide this critical component of any good news story -- context.
You will hear a lot about self censorship, the notion that journalists in Fiji are too afraid to report fully and without fear or favour. Such fears are understandable in the transition from censorship to freedom. But I urge journalists not to use this as an excuse not to do their jobs. . . . I know some of you have a jaundiced view about the Fiji government's attitude to media freedom. As a country, we are a work in progress. But huge progress has been in achieving genuine democracy.The naysayers, of course, blame the news media for fomenting the political instability that led to the 2000 coup and advocate tight controls such as contained in the 2010 Media Decree. It provides fines for what were once ethical lapses and even prison sentences for journalists found to have reported something contrary to the national interest, whatever that is. Australian blogger Graham Davis dubbed last week's symposium "Edgefest" and attacked me online and in the Fiji Sun for advocating "total freedom for the local media at a time of intense discussion over the appropriate model for developing countries such as Fiji." He contrasted that with the views of my predecessor as Head of Journalism at USP, Shailendra Singh, who "has advocated more social responsibility."
What Davis does, of course, is hardly journalism. He is, instead, an attack dog devoted to hounding anyone who questions any actions of the Interim Government in Fiji. To suggest that I am not in favour of social responsibility in journalism is a distortion of the truth. Instead I teach students the need to balance press freedom with responsibility. As an object lesson of the need for social responsibility, I use the example of Yellow Journalism that railroaded the U.S. government into the Spanish-American War in 1898. I often mention how history repeated itself when the U.S. press didn't do its job well enough in the run-up to that country's invasion of Iraq in 2003. I also use the example of press freedom in my country, where it is not absolute as under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, but instead is balanced against the rights of others in society not to be subject to hate speech.
If you want to see for yourself some of the discussion that went on at our symposium, as well as interviews with our Chief Guest, Professor Robert Hackett from Canada, and myself, I would suggest watching Fiji TV's excellent "Close Up" programme from Sunday, which can be viewed online here, here, and here.