FIJI: Daily Post group vows to speak out
* Pacific Media Watch Online:
SUVA (PMW): Fiji's Daily Post group, through an editorial in its Sunday edition, has rejected charges that it is a
"mouthpiece of government" and has vowed to continue to speak out boldly.
The editorial in the Sunday Post on 27 August 2000 comes in the wake of Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase's launching of
the company's new Hindi weekly Ramneek Post on August 24.
The military-backed interim government has a controlling 44 per cent interest in the company inherited from the previous
government of Sitiveni Rabuka and maintained by the deposed Fiji Labour Party-led coalition government of Mahendra
The editorial said: "This paper will always support the conciliatory and healing process [since the arrest last month of
the leaders of the May 19 insurrection].
"However, as [we] have stated in the past, we as the Fourth Estate, are the mouthpiece and conscience of the people.
That is more the reason to be so in the existing trying circumstances where we do not have an elected government.
"Therefore, despite the fact that the government holds majority shares in our company, we are not the mouthpiece of
"If anything, we have, on occasions been more critical of it - and boldly so - than anybody else where we found
legitimacy to be critical.
"Today, we are highlighting an issue which we feel needs to be addressed."
Some media analysts have indicated that the Daily Post's editorials were often more outspoken and courageous than their
two rival newspapers' opinions during Fiji's political crisis.
In the accompanying editorial, headlined "Child of our hope", the Sunday Post joined the nation's school management
boards in criticising the interim government's decision to reduce its per capita grant to all secondary schools by 50
"One thing has become abundantly clear with some of the government's decisions are that they are in great haste to
dismantle the policies and directions mapped out by the People's Coalition. We think it is time the interim
administration swallow the bitter pill and give credit where it is due.
"This paper applauds the initiative of the deposed government in giving priority to social welfare issues such as
education, health and poverty. For this reason an Education Commission was set up to forge an effective path for
learning, human resource development and education in this country."
At the Ramneek Post launching on August 24, Prime Minister Qarase had said the media must ensure that his administration
was open, honest and accountable in the absence of Parliament.
He also called on the media to promote national reconciliation and unity to foster a mutually caring and compassionate
"The media must also be a tool of development and nation-building, rather than a forum for creating and exacerbating
racial suspicions and tensions between our communities," Qarase said.
PACIFIC MEDIA WATCH ONLINE: http://www.pmw.c2o.org
PACIFIC MEDIA WATCH is an independent, non-profit, non-government organisation comprising journalists, lawyers, editors
and other media workers, dedicated to examining issues of ethics, accountability, censorship, media freedom and media
ownership in the Pacific region. Launched in October 1996, it has links with the Journalism Program at the University of
the South Pacific, Bushfire Media, the Australian Centre for Independent Journalism, and Pactok Communications, in
Sydney and Port Moresby.
(c)1996-2000 Copyright - All rights reserved.
Items are provided solely for review purposes as a non-profit educational service. Copyright remains the property of the
original producers as indicated. Recipients should seek permission from the copyright owner for any publishing.
Copyright owners not wishing their materials to be posted by PMW please contact us. The views expressed in material
listed by PMW are not necessarily the views of PMW or its members.
Recipients should rely on their own inquiries before making decisions based on material listed in PMW. Please copy
appeals to PMW and acknowledge source.
For further information, inquiries about joining the Pacific Media Watch
listserve, articles for publication, and giving feedback contact Pacific
Media Watch at: E-mail: email@example.com or: firstname.lastname@example.org Fax: (+679) 30 5779 or (+612) 9660 1804 Mail: PO
Box 9, Annandale, NSW 2038, Australia or, c/o Journalism, PO Box 1168, Suva, Fiji New website: http://www.pmw.c2o.org