Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Fiji newspapers, beat-ups and speculation

From Peceli

Fiji newspapers, beat-ups and speculation

We are being manipulated by the media, by army and government handouts. Journalists write stories of half-truths, lies, and exaggerations. Even when they apologize the next day or week, they have already caused some anxiety in the readers – whether in Fiji or overseas.

An Australian was on the phone to me yesterday very worried about Fiji because he had read in an Australian paper that the army commander was making threats against the government again.

I said to him, ‘That’s typical talk from Fiji now. It’s been going on since Qarase won the election. It goes quiet then there’s barking again.’

Maybe the army want recognition and to be noticed. Maybe it’s a tactic to be on the front page. Or, they don’t know what is the right procedure. Or, they have a good point in what they are saying about the proposed bills.

While I was staying in Fiji I learnt a new vocabulary from ordinary people. The word 'coup-taka'. People used it often about family troubles, about village disputes, trouble in the work, in the community, about chiefly titles. And now someone might say they want to 'coup-taka' the government. That means to do a coup.

The word coup is even used a lot in Australia – about someone offering to sell a property on the Gold Coast for $600,000 and then a very rich person came along and offered $3 million. You can ‘coup’ by giving big money. It's a money coup.

Now, the newspapers love this kind of talk and speculation. Fiji stories are reduced to one paragraph when they go overseas, and people here such as my Australian friend thinks there’s trouble brewing in Fiji!

Even academics such as Dr Brij Lal write something after a newspaper report that Bainimarama is threatening the government again.

From Fijilive
Military tactics wrong: academic
Wednesday October 18, 2006

Fiji academic Dr Brij Lal says the military's tactics of force and intimidation against the Government will bring nothing but instability to the country. His comments follow army commander Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama's three week ultimatum to Government to either get rid of controversial Bills or resign.

"The controversial Bills issue should be brought to Parliament, which is currently being revised and after looking at the changes then give our views," he said. One in Parliament, Lal said the Bills should be discussed and debated honestly.

"We can't be kicking dust and say we can't see," he said. He said it is our responsibility to respect the verdict of the ballot box....

My opinion is that the military would not be so foolish to do this, and the newspaper beat-ups are very bad. So how can we control the media from adding fuel and anxiety to people?

Fiji is a small country and needs order and respect and not just the newspapers blowing up stories. There is so often judging by the media instead of looking at the details of a topic.

What do you think?


eastcoastlife said...

Hi! It's great to read about Fiji from the citizens themselves. There is not much news or write ups about the country here in Singapore. I have heard how beautiful it is, would like to visit it one day. Glad to find your site. It's so informative.
Best wishes.

Peceli and Wendy's Blog said...

EAstcoastlife, Fiji is such a contradiction. There's so much beauty and there's sadness as well and some anxiety about deja vu - it might happen again - the bad stuff.
When military guys start mouthing off we get the jitters, that's the trouble.

Pandabonium said...

I don't like it when words of failure - which is what a coup represents - enter common usage. To me, it is like people using drug language or violent language or sexually demeaning language as a part of everyday speech. Even if one does not mean such things literally, it becomes a part of a person's consiousness and subtly influences one's actions.

If we use words (forgive me) like "bitch" or "ho" (whore) all the time, how can we not start treating women inappropriately at some point?

If we talk tough about "kicking ass" and so on, doesn't it encourage violent behaivor?

Wouldn't it be better to adopt a language of love, peace, democracy, understanding, cooperation? Wouldn't that tend to encourage people to act in positive ways to make their country a better place?

I realize that news media will over react with Fiji at times and that is not helpful either, but perhaps understandable.

Let us all -where ever we live- adopt principals that are positive and shape our words to reflect those principals. Words have meaning and words have power. We need to use them wisely in my humble opinion.

Peceli and Wendy's Blog said...

Hey, those were nice words Panda.

Yep, in Fiji they sure do chuck words like 'coup' around a lot.

Have you thought about writing letters to the editor of the fiji Times, Post, Sun?