Jul 16, 2018 Last Updated 11:45 PM, Jul 12, 2018

A win for Fiji Times

Fiji’s High Court in a landmark decision last month cleared the Fiji Times of sedition charges and declared its three newspaper executives free men.

The fourth accused, a letter writer to the newspaper’s Fijian language weekly, Nai Lalakai was also acquitted.

Although the office of Fiji’s Director of Public Prosecutions wasted no time in announcing it was appealing, Justice Thushara Rajasinghe’s 27-page judgement does offers some clarity on what constitutes sedition and what does not.

He had relied on a 1992 Fiji Court of Appeal case between the state v Mua, at which the presiding judge panels of Fiji Court of Appeal President, Mr Justice Michael Helsham, Sir Moti Tikaram, and Mr Justice Gordon Ward elaborated on what sedition is.

“The purpose of the offence is to prevent any unlawful attacks on the tranquillity of the State but it is not intended to prevent legitimate political comment. Deeply held political convictions frequently provoke strong emotions but there is authority to show that even strong or intemperate words or actions may not demonstrate a seditious intention if done with the purpose of expressing legitimate disagreement with the government of the day in terms of paragraphs (a)-(d),” Judge Rajasinghe quoted from the Fiji Court of Appeal judgement.

.....to read more buy your personal copy at

Media freedom under attack

WITH the trial of three newspaper executives underway in Fiji in May on charges of sedition, the assault of a newspaper journalist in Papua New Guinea, the removal of the general manager and her news manager at the Tonga Broadcasting Commission and the re-introduction of libel laws in Samoa, press freedom is coming under severe attacks in all regions of the Pacific.

A survey by Islands Business reveal disturbing signs to silence or control the work of independent and free media in the islands, with most of these attacks orchestrated by public agencies. Equally alarming is the absence of a public outcry or condemnation from the media and the general public alike.

Long-time Pacific media commentator and journalist now director of the Auckland-based Pacific Media Centre and convenor of Pacific Media Watch, Professor David Robie believes media freedom in the Pacific has never been under severe stress as it is today.

“Ironically, in this digital era of social media and with a multitude of alternative and independent information sources and platforms available, mainstream media has faced a decline in media freedom. Notably two of the Pacific countries with the largest and strongest media industries,Fiji and Papua New Guinea, have faced a steady “chilling” in their discourse. Increasingly in PNG, for example, the public and journalists themselves are turning to independent and respected blogs for trusted and “real” information.

There is a mainstream media silence on many issues, especially the under-reporting of social justice issues, the plight of refugees after closure of the Manus detention centre, climate change, and West Papua.”

.....to read more buy your personal copy at

New voices for Pacific broadcasters

THE Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) is once again making changes that will affect broadcasting into the Pacific. From 22 January, ABC’s Radio Australia (RA) will introduce a new Pacific Mornings programme, between 6am to 10am. In a significant change, the programme will be hosted by two women of Pacific island heritage, Seini Taumoepeau and Tahlea Auliitia.

RA’s flagship news and current affairs programme Pacific Beat will be reduced to 25 minutes, with the morning show hosted by Catherine Graue and the afternoon slot maintained by long time broadcaster Bruce Hill. The changes to RA’s broadcasts come after ABC managing director Michelle Guthrie introduced a major restructure of the national broadcaster.

These changes have seen the break-up of domestic radio and TV services, with key staff reallocated to three new divisions:

.....to read more buy your personal copy at

Making news in death

Obituary ROSALYN ALBANIEL EVARA 1976 - 2017

IN death, Papua New Guinea journalist, Rosalyn Evara, has shone the spotlight on an issue which often escapes notice in regional news coverage – violence against women. A victim of domestic violence for several years, this outspoken woman highlighted daily the ills of the nation and was regarded as an advocate for justice and good governance.

Evara was respected by colleagues, the public and legislators alike for her professionalism and fearless journalism which often exposed the darker side of business in PNG. Trained at the highly-recognised Divine Word University, she began her journalism career at Word Publishing before joining the Post Courier in 2002. Working through the ranks and the major news centres of Lae, Madang and Port Moresby, this promising journalist became bureau chief and later business editor at the News Limited-owned Post Courier.

At 41 when she died suddenly, Evara was on track to becoming the first female editor of one of the region’s largest and most influential newspapers. But behind the professionalism , national recognition and success lay an awful secret which many Pacific women journalists also hide. 

.....to read more buy your personal copy at

 

Death in Moresby

Call to probe spousal abuse

PACIFIC journalists have called for an investigation into the death of Rosalyn Albaniel Evara – Business Editor of the influential Papua New Guinea newspaper, the Post Courier. Evara died last month after complaining of severe headaches. Days later at Evara’s funeral, an aunt claimed that the journalist was a victim of domestic violence and produced pictures of bruises taken after her death. Port Moresby governor, Powes Parkop, ordered the burial to be deferred and forced an autopsy which found the reasons for death to be inconclusive.

Parkop said, however, that he was not convinced and suggested a cover-up may be possible within the police and medical services. “I will refer this matter to the PNG Medical Board,” Parkop told public radio. “This is unacceptable.” His sentiments were echoed by the Pacific Freedom Forum, an independent regional organisation concerned about the rights of journalists. “We welcome the autopsy taking place, but challenge a preliminary finding that cause of death was undetermined”, PFF Chair Monica Miller said. “There are just too many witnesses to our colleague Rosalyn Albaniel Evara suffering severe domestic violence. “Photos taken after her death, and shown at her funeral, showed extensive bruising.”

.....to read more buy your personal copy at

 
Page 1 of 2

Find Us on Facebook