Fiji media group says news report brought disrepute to the govt
Fiji's Media Industry Development Authority says an Australian journalist's claims have brought disrepute to the government and is suspending all collaboration with the ABC and a Pacific Media project.
Fiji's Media Industry Development Authority says an Australian journalists claims' have brought disrepute to the government and is suspending all collaboration with the ABC and a Pacific Media project.
MIDA director Matai Akauola says they are calling for a public retraction by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and its Pacific correspondent Sean Dorney.
Mr Akauola says their main concern is over an interview Mr Dorney gave following last month's Pacific Media Summit in Noumea in which he told an ABC presenter that there was a feeling that media freedom in Fiji wasn't as open as it should be.
Bridget Tunnicliffe asked Mr Akauola what their issue is.
MATAI AKAUOLA: Well the main concern was the manner in how they generalised the state of freedom in Fiji and for us that was kind of far off from what we are in right now. We feel that the matter should have been more clearer. We were at the same conference but he did not speak to us and was speaking to media colleagues from around the region who haven't been in Fiji for some time. So there has to be evidence instead of generalising the whole situation here in Fiji. He should try and have evidence and speak to the very people who live in Fiji in regards to how we deal with the issue of media freedom in the country, you know we've gone past 2006 and the situation has changed, it is 2014 so we're saying it's about time that journalists get their facts straight.
BRIDGET TUNNICLIFFE: So as a result the Authority has decided to suspend all collaboration with the ABC and PACMAS [Pacific Media Assistance Scheme] until such a time when an official retraction has been received, do you think you will get that retraction?
MA: You know we hope that it will come through however looking at their response where they are asking us to now take the matter up with another authority in Australia so we feel that we cannot control what is happening in Australia but we can control what is happening in Fiji.
BT: How come we don't seem to hear from local Fijian journalists or news editors about how they feel the media environment or freedom is in Fiji. How come we never seem to hear from them?
MA: I don't know, have you questioned them, have you talked to them?
BT: We have tried in the past and there is a great reluctance [from Fijian media to discuss press freedom].
MA: Well I could not vouch for that but according to the Fijian constitution we are telling our media people that they have every right, there's media freedom of the media in the Constitution and that goes with the media decree that we have in place.
BT: In your press release you've said that Mr Dorney's claims have brought disrepute to the Fijian government, on the cusp of national elections, potentially shattering the confidence of its citizens and the international community - don't you think you're being over-sensitive?
MA: No, like I said we're talking about facts, we're telling you what's happening in Fiji and you cannot continue to assume that these are things that don't affect our country because what you are trying to portray, it affects a nation.
BT: Governments around the world are subject to criticism on a daily basis, why is the Fiji government so paranoid about receiving criticism?
MA: Well, that's your point, I'll leave that to you, for you to answer that yourself, but you know Australia and New Zealand, you cannot dictate to us how we run things here, that's what we're talking about.
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