24 Jan 2013

Broader Fiji media coverage augurs well, says NZ academic

12:26 pm on 24 January 2013

A leading New Zealand journalism trainer says it is auguring well for Fiji's future that the media has broadened its coverage of political affairs.

Working under the tough terms of a number of decrees, Fiji media outlets largely ignored the criticism of the regime decision to dump the draft constitution which it had commissioned last year.

That prompted the Labour Party to claim that the local media only regurgitated the regime's platitudes without looking at the accuracy of the statements.

Professor David Robie, who is the director of the Pacific Media Centre at AUT University, says days later when the regime released a decree on political parties, coverage improved.

"When it brings in a decree like this on political parties and expects one political party to dance to a tune of accountability and yet not provides that accountability itself, that seems to have opened the flood gates of open criticism and debate."

Professor David Robie says to have a genuine democracy in 2014, there needs to be a proper political debate, and the media is critical to this.