|Pacific Media Watch|
Sun blasts the Daily Post - 'a media lapdog'
Title -- 4663 FIJI: Sun blasts the Daily Post - 'a media lapdog'
Date -- 11 March 2005
Byline -- None
Origin -- Pacific Media Watch
Source -- Fiji Sun 9/3/05
Copyright - FS
Status -- Unabridged
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Fiji Sun editorial about the Daily Post:
A MEDIA LAPDOG
SUVA (Fiji Sun Online/Pacific Media Watch): The Fiji governments decision on the future of the ailing Daily Post newspaper is a blatant attempt to secure media support for next years election. For not only have ministers accepted the lowest bid for a portion of the states shares - enough to give control of the company to their favored bidder - but they have ignored the requirements of the governments own tender documents.
These called for a financially secure bidder with a background in newspaper publishing. However, the status of the shadowy Belmont Trading Group Ltd. is unknown even to the government.
What is known is that it has no experience in newspaper publishing. When it first appeared mysteriously on these shores, it was said to be Australian-based. More recently, it has equally mysteriously become domiciled in Hong Kong, though no trace of it or its activities can be found in either location.
One begins to wonder what the true nature of its business really is. Whatever that may be, the government is clearly determined to deliver control of the Post to the mystery group associated with the Prime Ministers cousin who has already delivered a newspaper that can be relied upon to toe the government line.
The tragedy for the loyal and hardworking staff of the Post is that the public is not so easily fooled. The taint of government control condemns the paper to an early grave -- and the jobs of many of the staff are now likely to be sacrificed on the altar of other peoples political ambitions.
And the tragedy is that the Post will deliver few if any votes to the Government. The sacrifice of those jobs will ultimately be in vain. The other loser is the taxpayer whose remaining shares in the Post will be worth precisely nothing should the Government fail to win re-election - unless, of course, the next government decides to keep it alive as a media lapdog guaranteed to bark, whine and howl exactly on cue.
Of course the publication can be kept alive at least until election time through government handouts and advertising, but its ultimate demise as a proudly independent publication is assured by yesterdays decision. It is a tragic fate for a newspaper whose staff have fought bravely over the years to keep it alive against seemingly impossible odds. Sadly, it seems, those heroic efforts have been in vain.
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 based in Sydney, Journalism Studies at the University of PNG (UPNG), the Australian Centre for Independent Journalism (ACIJ), Auckland University of Technology in New Zealand, and Community Communications Online (c2o).
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