Fiji – International media short of integrity or judgment

The Fiji Literary Festival was held in  Nadi from 2 to 9 October 2011. Speakers included Graham Davis,  an independent Fiji-born journalist and publisher of the political blog Grubsheet, and  Fiji Ministry of Information permanent secretary Sharon Smith-Johns. Both addressed issues regarding the role of the media in Fiji.

Davis asked, “In reporting in Fiji which version gets told the most? Which is the prevailing orthodoxy on events in Fiji? Bainimarama the torturer or Bainimarama the reformer?”

“On the evidence,” he said,  “demonising the dictator is the dominant narrative of much of the regional media, and especially a clique of so-called Pacific specialists in Australia and New Zealand.”

Davis said that he thought much of what is said about Fiji in the international media is woefully short of integrity or judgment. “Indeed, we live in a truly parallel universe when it comes to media coverage … alleged versions of the truth so polarised that your ordinary reader, viewer or listener can be excused for having no idea what to believe.”

“What disturbs me,” he said “is that so many of my fellow journalists seem willing to embrace those agendas and portray the country in a way vastly at odds with reality.”

Smith-Johns called on the media to act responsibly and to understand “that as a developing nation, we need to take in cultural and socio economic factors against the size of our population. The media must realize that for a  developing country like ours, information given needs to take into consideration the socio-economic situation of the country. The media must also realize how influential they can be when citizens speak a variety of languages and messages can be interpreted through poor reporting and a race to get a front page story.”



Additional reading

News category: Asia Pacific.

Tags: , , , , ,