2 Dec 2016

Complainant in Fiji says MIDA dismissal of FBC unbelievable

4:14 pm on 2 December 2016

A complainant in Fiji says he cannot believe a ruling by the Media Industry and Development Authority dismissing a complaint about a television programme and saying the issue won't go to a media tribunal.

In October, several individuals referred the Fiji Broadcasting Corporation's Wasea Basha programme to MIDA and the police for alleged racism against indigenous people.

The MIDA chair Ashwin Raj said the tone of the programme was not provocative and the language was not inflammatory.

"In the light of the principles enunciated in the jurisprudence on freedom of expression in the context of the complaint, the program fails to meet the threshold for inciting communal discord. The matter, therefore, will not be referred to the Media Tribunal," said Ashwin Raj in the ruling.

He said it was not about denigrating, but may have had the effect of giving credence to racist stereotyping given the power of the media.

"How we evacuate race from the vicissitudes of racism and speak openly about human differences with civility is important," he said in the ruling.

But one of the complainants Peter Waqavonovono said there was overwhelming evidence to support the complaint and said a meeting would be held over the coming days to consider further action.

"I really don't understand how you can come to such a conclusion after you have been presented with an overwhelming collection of evidence," he said.

"We indigenous Fijians have decided to use the system and now we've seen the system for what it really is, and the next few days you will get an answer from us."

The FBC apologised for the broadcast, and its CEO Riyaz Sayed-Khaiyum sacked the programme producer Nemani Bainivalu last month after an internal inquiry found he had acted irresponsibly.

The Director of Public Prosecutions Christopher Pryde dismissed the police complaint last month, saying a broadcast must do more than simply insult or cause offence to people.

Fiji Broadcasting Corporation apologises for comments after social media complaints

Fiji Broadcasting Corporation apologises for comments after social media complaints Photo: FBC TV Facebook

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