A Fiji Times article reports that release.
The excerpt of FT article:
Media report released
Thursday, February 28, 2008
THE Fiji Human Rights Commission has released a report on its findings on media independence.
Media officer Erica Lee confirmed last night that the report was released yesterday.
The inquiry was carried out by Doctor James Anthony last year.
He conducted the inquiry in consultation with individuals, political parties, Government Ministers, NGOs, members of the judiciary, church leaders, trade unionists and some members of the media.
Fiji Times Editor-in-Chief Netani Rika said the report was disturbing for a number of reasons which the company will respond to today.
"Although it is safe to say that it appears to be malicious, full of conjecture and untruths written by a person who had obviously formulated an opinion before arriving in the country," he said.
Communications Fiji Ltd, the parent company of radio stations and website Fiji Village was quick to ridicule the findings, as reported in an article from Fiji village.
The excerpt of FV article:
FHRC report baseless-Parkinson
Publish date/time: 28/02/2008 [15:23]
Skin colour has nothing to do with how the media organizations in the country operate and provide news to the people.
Communications Fiji Limited Managing Director William Parkinson has labeled the FHRC Report compiled by James Anthony on the media in Fiji as absolutely baseless. Parkinson has also criticized the recommendations by Doctor Anthony that Fiji Human Rights Commission should take necessary steps to strongly recommend to government that all existing work permits in the media industry not be renewed and that no further work permits be issued. He has questioned why only the media is being targeted.
Parkinson has also lashed out at the FHRC for listing a number of companies including media houses as members of the SDL's Duavata Initiative Company without any evidence.
Meanwhile, Parkinson said that some media companies will go bankrupt if the government comes up with a 7 percent tax across the board on all media advertising revenue and further 7 percent on all revenue generated from licence and monthly user fees on consumers as recommended by Dr. Anthony.
Editor of Fiji Times, Netani Rika has strongly condemned the contents of the Fiji Human Rights Commission report which is blaming the media for the 1987 coup. Rika said Dr. Anthony should understand that the coups have not been staged by any media organization. Rika added that Dr. Anthony's allegations are baseless and its his personal view that white men are running the show in the media industry.
Meanwhile, other media organizations are still going through the report and are expected to comment later today.
Doctor James Anthony writes that the power of the media was found to be in the hands of about eight whites (mostly expatriates) operating in the shadows, acting in concert as members of a private club, deciding not only what to print but also deciding what not to print.
It is rather laughable that Parkinson and Rika both used the word "baseless" in the FV article as if they reading from well rehearsed talking points. In the interest of education, it is best that the public read the report and make up their own conclusions without relying on the media to dish out their own hostile reactions.
Other commentators like 1987 coup leader, Sitiveni Rabuka also weighed in the report, which was published in an article by Fiji Village.
Media Not Cause of 1987 Coup
Publish date/time: 28/02/2008 [15:05]
The leader of the 1987 coup and former Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka is shocked to find out that the Fiji Human Rights Commission report is blaming the 1987 coup on the actions taken by the media.
In his report to the Human Rights Commission on the Freedom and Independence of the Media in Fiji, Hawaii based, Doctor James Anthony writes about one of his sources who said that the media had consistently blown things out of proportion and among others, Rabuka has already stated that the media was very substantially responsible for creating the problem with which Fiji was faced with and by which he had been sucked in.
Doctor Anthony in his report to the FHRC also writes that Rabuka saw himself as being the dupe of a disinformation campaign and Rabuka himself apparently admitted, privately, that he was caught up in a hysteria generated by the media.
Rabuka has denounced all these claims in the report and stresses that the media had nothing to do with the actions that he took on May 14th, 1987. Rabuka said he never met with anyone from the FHRC or Doctor Anthony and does not agree with what has been said about the 1987 coup.
Meanwhile, the report also states that after the December 5th takeover, the military began to analyze the role of the media industry in the polarization of Fiji's two major races, which had deepened and widened over the years.
Doctor James Anthony writes that the power of the media was found to be in the hands of about eight whites (mostly expatriates) operating in the shadows, acting in concert as members of a private club, deciding not only what to print but also deciding what not to print. He further writes that this power not to print, the power to censor news, the power to decide what was fit to be printed, to be aired, was a power that was exercised with stealth. It said that the power was exercised in the corridors of power, away from the daylight of the common forum, away from the spotlight of public attention.
Doctor Anthony writes that it was an exercise of power to protect the power of a complex web of cross owners sitting in crucial positions on a wide range of Board of Directors. He went on and said that what one local author has previously called an "oligarchy of barons" once white, now of various shades, their hands in almost every major pie in the country. The report further said that self regulation has failed and the Media Council is a white man's club and is a do nothing body.
Several allegations have also been made in the report with Doctor Anthony quoting several submissions provided by confidential sources. There is also a long list of companies, including media houses listed as members of the SDL's Duavata Initiative Company.
The list is just typed out without any reference on where the information has been received.