|Pacific Media Watch|
Interim PM attacks media
Title -- 5323 FIJI: Interim PM attacks media
Date -- 24 February 2008
Byline -- None
Origin -- Pacific Media Watch
Source -- FijiVillage.com 24/02/08
Copyright - FV
Status -- Unabridged
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INTERIM PM ATTACKS MEDIA
SUVA (FV.com/Pacific Media Watch): Fiji's Interim Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama today attacked the media on the recent coverage of stories regarding the interim government.
Bainimarama questioned the journalism ethics that these media organisations had and asked where the Fiji Media Council presence was.
In reply, the chairman of the media council, Daryl Tarte, said the Interim Prime Minister did not understand the role of the council.
Tarte added there was a procedure to follow regarding complaints about the media.
Commodore Bainimarama went on to urge [journalists] to think about the nation irrespective of the poor pay they received.
Fiji Times editor-in-chief Netani Rika said the media thought about the nation every day.
Communications Fiji Ltd managing director William Parkinson supported the call by Bainimarama for the media to cover both sides of the story.
At the press conference, Bainimarama also defended the work of the Fiji Independent Corruption against Corruption.
Bainimarama made allegations that some lawyers and journalists who were connected with people charged by FICAC were trying to give negative comments about FICAC.
He also said Ratu Tuakitau Cokonauto and members of his Great Council of Chiefs (GCC) review committee had no power to dictate to the interim government on what they wanted.
Bainimarama said they were only tasked to recommend the changes, but it was up to the interim government on whether to accept them or not.
Commodore Bainimarama clarified the GCC was created by the colonial government and the Minister for Fijian Affairs used to chair the GCC. It was nothing new.
On the level of criticism against him as a commoner, Bainimarama said 1987 coup leader Sitiveni Rabuka and Naibuka Navunisaravi were both commoners as well.
In a press statement, Interim Finance Minister Mahendra Chaudhry said the newspaper reports - including those under the bylines by Netani Rika and Robert Matau of the Fiji Times - published yesterday were defamatory.
Chaudhry added he had instructed his lawyers to file papers tomorrow to sue The Fiji Times for defamation. The Fiji Times would have to prove the truth of its statements.
The Interim Finance Minister also said he had instructed his lawyers to also include the reports of Victor Lal published in the Fiji Sun.
Chaudhry said he would not make any further statements regarding this issue as whatever was to be said must now be said in a court of law.
Meanwhile, the Fiji Human Rights Commission has also advised Chaudhry on what to do.
Chairperson Dr Shaista Shameem said he had a good case against the newspapers.
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