INDEPENDENT NEWS

Fiji Trauma Team Attacks Newspaper Report

Published: Wed 22 Aug 2001 09:50 AM
SUVA (Pacnews): The Fiji Trauma Recovery Team has hit out at a recent Fiji Times report suggesting it had declared last year’s parliamentary hostages unfit to lead the country, Pacnews reports.
The story purported to quote a report by the team’s chairman, Father Makario, saying that the hostages had not received adequate psychological debriefing after their release and as a result "may not be fit to lead the country again".
In a statement released today, the Trauma Recovery Team said the report had never been released to the media and had been taken out of context by the Fiji Times.
"In the report, Father Makario did raise his concerns regarding the fact that some of the political hostages did not receive psychological debriefing directly following their release and that this could have possibly affected their ability to function as leaders immediately afterwards. The report does not state that the political hostages are at present ‘unfit to lead’. Nor does it claim they ‘may not be fit to lead the country again’ as is stated in the Fiji Times," said Dr Shish Narayan in the statement.
The statement also points out that the report was completed in August last year. The Fiji Times story ran a few weeks ago and made no mention of the date of the report.
Nobody at the newspaper was available for comment.
Fiji Media Watch has also condemned the Fiji Times. Coordinator Swasti Chand told PACNEWS, "that the Fiji Times is responsible for speculating on certain sections of the reports to suit its own agenda. We deplore the action of the newspaper."
"It was unethical of the newspaper to run the story, which undermined the calibre of the professional people who served on the trauma team," Chand wrote. "The team, as the whole nation is aware, gave its dedicated services in a highly ethical and principled manner.
"While we agree that the role of the media is to report the facts to the public, we also demand that the stories are accurate and balanced. It is the absolute duty of the editor and the editor-in-chief to oversee what is being offered to the consumers of the media. [The story] reflects poor journalism standards and practices (which) are unethical, given the political arena."…PNS
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PACIFIC MEDIA WATCH ONLINE: http://www.pmw.c2o.org

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