Report by Pacific Media Centre
Comment – By Niklas Pedersen in Suva
Today, I arrived at the humble headquarters of Repúblika Magazine in an office complex just a couple of minutes in the bus from our home base at the University of the South Pacific.
Already here on the first day of my weeklong internship at Repúblika, editor Ricardo Morris showed me some examples of the challenges he and his magazine face in the Fiji mediascape.
Yesterday both the Sunday editions of The Fiji Times and Fiji Sun carried a warning from the Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama, on their front page.
Bainimarama warned the Fiji people and others abroad, that any form of “insurrection” would be severely punished in regard to the latest “sedition” cases in the country.
Nowhere to be found was the obvious point that “rebellious activities” was exactly how the now-elected Prime Minister gained power in the 2006 coup.
The media here are full of contradictions like that. Just today, I bought The Fiji Times, which on the front page featured a story about the Permanent Secretary for iTaukei Affairs urging the Fijian people to keep using their native iTaukei-language and stop it from disappearing.
That story was continued on page 6, right next to this headline: “PM stresses need to master English language,” in which Bainimarama is quoted saying:
“I realise that for many people, English is not their mother tongue at home. But it is our national language […] so we need to master it properly.”
Maybe there’s a lesson in the art of timing political announcements.
Niklas Pedersen and KP Lew are postgraduate student journalists from AUT University on the Asia-Pacific Journalism course. They are in Fiji on a two-week internship with Repúblika Magazine and Wansolwara and will also file a series of reports for Pacific Scoop about their experience.
Watch for the Pacific Scoop team’s Fiji Report via Storify.