Sincha Dimara: My mother, a West Papuan survivor of many hardships, spurred along by her faith

Dominguis and Dolfintje Dimara pictured on the day they were married. Image: #InspirationalPapuaNewGuineans

PROFILE: By Sincha Dimara in Port Moresby

I once asked my mother how was it that she married at the tender age of 16 and left home in West Papua for a foreign land – neighbouring Papua New Guinea – never to see family again for more than three decades.

She told me: “When your father left for work and I was left alone, it dawned on me that I may never see my family again.

“Silent tears flowed in those quiet moments, tanta (aunty) Wanma noticed. She asked me if papa was not nice to me. I shook my head, ‘no’… it was only after the birth of my first child, that my whole world changed.”

READ MORE: Inspirational Papua New Guineans

My mother, Dolfintje Imbab, was born on 4 December 1949, four years after World World Two ended. She was 70 last week (on 4 December 2018).

She was born somewhere on the banks of the Warfor River on Supiori Island, part of the Biak Islands in West Papua at a time when villagers had been forced to move inland to escape the horrors of war.

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She completed her primary education in 1960, in what was then a Dutch colony. She was not considered for further studies because most women back then were told to return home to assist the family male members of the family to continue their education.

This meant gardening, fishing and other daily chores to sustain the family.

Against Indonesian takeover
My father, Domingus Dimara (that’s a story on its own), came to Papua New Guinea as a young man in 1963. He was against Indonesia’s takeover of West Papua then and decided to make PNG home.

Family snapshots … Dominguis and Dolfintje Dimara. Right: Dolfintje Dimara and with their first child. Image:
#InspirationalPapuaNewGuineans

He returned in 1965 in search for a bride; my mother was chosen.

My late father was a disciplinarian and always believed in doing the right thing. Initially there was resistance from my maternal grandparents upon hearing that their daughter would marry and move far from home.

My maternal grandmother placed locally made bracelets (gelang biak) on both her arms. The bracelets identify a woman or man as a Biak person.

They were married in May 1965 in Biak town and after meeting legal and customary obligations they travelled to the capital Hollandia, now Jayapura. From there, they travelled by plane to Lae, then on to Port Moresby.

My parents lived with Om and Tanta Marjen (late Aunty and Uncle Marjen) who had earlier moved to Port Moresby after Indonesia gained control of West Papua.

My parents were also accommodated by the Wanma family. This was in the 1960s. One of mum’s early memories is witnessing the 1969 South Pacific Games in Port Moresby and the basketball matches played at the Hohola Courts.

New suburbs sprouted
A few years later when Port Moresby was beginning to expand and new suburbs sprouted, my father was able to secure a house from the National Housing Commission in 1970.

Dolfintje Imbab Dimara with her sister and grand niece in Jayapura. Image:
#InspirationalPapuaNewGuineans

In 1990, more than 30 years since her arrival in PNG, mum first crossed the border as a PNG citizen into Indonesian territory. She did so after communicating with family members through letters for more than 20 years.

Her father had passed on but her mother – my grandmother – was still alive then. She would meet family members again over the years.

In 1979, both of my parents were granted PNG citizenship along with other West Papuans. Among them were the Marjens, Sarwoms, Wanmas.

Sadly, my father passed on in 1994. My mother’s strength and love for the family has kept her going this far.

She lost three of her seven children. Edward our youngest died of heart failure in 1992. Robin was murdered by criminals in 1999 and my sister Salomina died of breast cancer in 2013.

Throughout all the hardships, I believe her faith in God has kept her going. She has mastered the Motu language, speaks a little English and Tok Pisin and made many friends in PNG.

She is also a survivor of breast cancer having gone through treatment in 2011. In a few weeks’ time she will travel home to visit her place of birth and meet her siblings again.

I jokingly asked if it was time to return for good. But I guess she’d rather spend time with the family she created – her children and grandchildren.

Sincha Dimara has been an #EMTV producer for 30 years. She is manager, news and current affairs of the television network in Papua New Guinea.

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Article by AsiaPacificReport.nz

MIL OSI – Source: Evening Report Arts and Media

Scott Waide reinstated – ‘thank you’ message from EMTV journalist

Scott Waide reporting in a Papua New Guinea village … image from his blog My Land, My Country.

COMMENT: By Scott Waide, in an open letter posted on his blog after he was reinstated by EMTV today following suspension for broadcasting an APEC news item on November 17 criticising wasteful government spending.

Dear all,

Over the last 48 hours, I have been very humbled by the incredible support my family and I have received from people both here in Papua New Guinea and abroad. Support also came from friends in the media, academia, law enforcement, the military and many other circles, too many to name.

I have since been reinstated to my job as deputy regional head of news at EMTV.

I wish to thank our media friends here and overseas, especially. Thank you for your support and your words of encouragement. Thank you to my immediate and extended family and to the strangers who offered support and words of encouragement in Port Moresby, Lae and remote parts of PNG.

READ MORE: PNG journalist reinstated after suspension over APEC Maseratis story

Today’s EMTV reinstatement media release. Source: EMTV

My news teams both in Port Moresby, Lae, Kokopo, Madang and Mt Hagen demonstrated the highest level of professionalism and maturity by remaining away from everything that has happened.

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I am proud to lead this team of young journalists, camera operators and support staff.

A great many thanks also to management of EMTV and CEO for working through this very trying time, despite the challenges and pressures. A very special thank you to head of news, Neville Choi, and the powerful Sincha Dimara. (I apologise if I missed out anyone.)

I was suspended on Sunday, 18 November, on the last day of the APEC (Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation) meetings. The reasons for the suspensions are now public knowledge and I do not wish to dwell too much on them.

Essential part of democracy
However, I do wish to make the following points:

  • Papua New Guinea is a democracy and the media is free to hold those in authority to account. This means highlighting flaws in policy and making sure mistakes are pointed out and corrected. It is an essential part of our democracy.
  • There should NEVER be any interference at the operational level by board members. The media is an institution of democracy and must remain free and independent. It is our constitutional right to report AND be critical.
  • Journalists of “state owned” media are NOT government public relations officers, nor are media organisations PR machines.
  • EMTV is “state-owned” which means the PEOPLE own this company through their elected government.
  • Journalism is an art… and art and creativity cannot operate in an environment of suppression and fear.

Papua New Guinea is at a critical moment of its history with the growth and influence of China, US-China trade tensions and challenges within our own country.

We are a largely rural nation. Many of our people still have no access to basic services.

We will continue to promote critical, proactive and transparent journalism. The people’s voice has to be heard and the media must remain as the conduit and platform for opinions and debate and those who cannot accept it MUST step aside and let progress happen.

– Scott Waide

The Pacific Media Centre’s Asia Pacific Report frequently republishes articles from Scott Waide’s blog My Land, My Country with permission to provide a PNG “voice” on developments.

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Bryan Kramer: Who was culprit behind O’Neill government revenge on Waide?

Revenge against one of PNG’s leading journalists Scott Waide, says opposition MP for Madang = Bryan Kramer. Image: Bryan Kramer Facebook

COMMENT: By Bryan Kramer, MP for Madang

Papua New Guinea’s O’Neill government has taken revenge against senior EMTV Reporter Scott Waide, who was suspended over his broadcasting of New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s comments about the Maserati scandal.

I was informed soon after APEC (Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation) that the O’Neil  actually planned on sacking Waide. However, there was pushback from the management and staff so they decided to instead suspend him and order that he go on leave.

I suspect given the recent unrest in Port Moresby involving security forces, they had to be careful not to trigger another incident.

READ MORE: O’Neill defends government on suspension of EMTV journalist Waide

Opposition MP Bryan Kramer … wants to get to the bottom of the attempt to sack Scott Waide. Image: Kramer Report

So the real question is, who was behind the decision calling for Waide’s “sacking/suspension”, Prime Minister Peter O’Neill himself, or the usual suspects such as O’Neill’s Chief Media Officer Chris Hawkins and Minister for APEC Justin Tkatchenko?

EMTV is owned by Telikom PNG that is ultimately owned by Kumul Holdings Consolidated, a state-owned enterprise.

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Shadow minister
The minister responsible for state-owned enterprises is William Duma and I am the shadow minister.

I will be writing to the minister and CEO of Kumul Consolidated Holdings asking them for an explanation behind this suspension.

I don’t expect a response, but what I can assure them is that following the removal of O’Neill in February 2019, the person behind the decision can expect to be sacked.

Last week, Opposition Members were on FM100 radio talkback that was telecast live on EMTV. However, half way through the programme we were cut off air. This is the second time it has happened.

It appears those feeding from a corrupt O’Neill government are starting to get desperate in their efforts to take away our rights – including our freedom of speech.

It’s time Papua New Guineans start to seriously think about organising ourselves in the cause to hold to account a corrupt prime minister and his cronies.

Opposition Madang MP Bryan Kramer is the shadow minister for state-owned enterprises, including the Telikom-owned EMTV. He founded the Allegiance Party and is an investigative journalist who publishes Kramer Report.

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Open letter from MP for Wabag: EMTV move ‘dictatorship before our eyes’

Papua New Guinean journalists at APEC 2018 … “freedom of speech and expression are a fundamental right … and entrenched in the constitution”. Image: Loop PNG

OPINION: By Dr Lino Jeremaih Tom, MP for Wabag

The suspension of EMTV deputy news editor Scott Waide has brought us to a new low in Papua New Guinea’s downward spiral.

Freedom of speech and expression are a fundamental constitutional right entrenched in the constitution, are pillars of democracy and this suspension is a breach of this fundamental right.

We have become a dictatorship in essence and it’s happening right before our eyes. Leadership comes with the territory, and scrutiny and criticism are part of this package and the media plays a big part.

Wabag MP Lino Jeremaih Tom … “sad day for PNG for one of its most loved journalists to be treated this way”. Image: PNG Parliament

Biased reporting is not healthy for this country and it is indeed a sad day for PNG for one of its most loved journalists to be treated this way.

In fact, it’s disgusting and nauseating witnessing the gross abuse of power in recent times by those vested few in their bid for survival.

Desperation calls for desperate measures. All our oversight institutions and laws have been raped and plundered to a point where the remains are a dysfunctional wreck.

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If we can’t condemn this stupid and selfish act then all of us leaders should resign in shame as we’d have failed miserably our mandated responsibilities as freedom of speech and expression is one of the foundation principles of any democratic society.

This is totally wrong EMTV. What’s your role as a media outlet in nation building in PNG? The management should hang their heads in shame for stooping this low.

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MIL OSI – Source: Evening Report Arts and Media

EMTV suspends senior journalist Scott Waide over NZ Maserati news story

The Maserati item from New Zealand’s Newshub screened on EMTV News on 17 November 2018.

By Vincent Moses in Port Moresby

The Papua New Guinean state-owned media company EMTV has been forced to act against its wishes and media ethics to suspend one of the country’s best reporters, their award-winning Lae bureau chief and senior journalist Scott Waide.

In an email sent to all staff of EMTV, the HR manager informed staff that EMTV management were forced by the government to take the action of suspending Waide.

READ MORE: The inside story of China’s ‘tantrum diplomacy’ at APEC

The email said: “EMTV is addressing with the utmost importance and priority, the situation with regards to our senior news personnel, Scott Waide, over a story broadcast during last Saturday’s news bulletin, 17th November 2018.

The EMTV memo shared widely on Pacific region social media.

“The decisions are not favourable to EMTV, and goes against our responsibility to report on all views, with freedom and fairness. However, we must remember we are state owned and that some sensitive reporting will be questioned, queried and even actioned upon.

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“EMTV management would like it known to all staff that Mr Waide has not been NOT TERMINATED as speculated, and anyone who takes it upon themselves to act on such assumptions will be dealt with accordingly….” 

The poor management is not to be blamed for this action. After all EMTV is now state-owned and must adhere to instructions from their owners who happen to be Prime Minister Peter O’Neill-led government.

Scott Waide … suspended EMTV deputy news editor responsible for APEC news. Image: FB

The challenge is now on Communications Minister Sam Basil who was a very strong critic of media control when he was Deputy Opposition Leader to see if he will maintain his stand as a strong advocate of free media and do something to save this senior news reporter.

This action by the dictatorship O’Neill PNC government is not new. The same thing happened in 2013 when very senior staff and reporters of NBC Television were sacked, suspended and demoted for reporting about O’Neill’s nationalisation of OK Tedi copper and gold mine.

A freeze frame from the Maserati item on EMTV News on November 17. Image: PMC screenshot

Peter O’Neill is acting like another Chinese dictator in Papua New Guinea by exerting control over both state-owned and private media to not report truths and facts that expose his government and their corrupt acts to PNG and the world.

This is a huge attack on media freedom in PNG and must be condemned by everyone both in government, opposition, media council, Transparency International, media organisations both local and international and everyone in PNG.

Pacific reaction
Reaction around the Pacific on social media to this action by EMTV has been widely condemned. Reaction included:

Dr Shailendra Singh, journalism coordinator of the University of the South Pacific, said: “That Scott Waide was suspended for carrying out his journalistic duty is despicable and deplorable, but not unexpected or unusual in PNG, where tensions between media and government are increasing in proportion to the rise in alleged corruption, with one story after another to report in quick succession, and government lashing out to prevent exposure and to warn and intimidate journalists.”

The Pacific Media Centre director Professor David Robie described the action as “shameful and a blow to media independence and freedom of information in Papua New Guinea”.

He said it was understood the item objected to by the PNG government was a NZ Newshub item about the Maseratis controversy rebroadcast by EMTV News on November 17.

Dr Robie said it was clear to anybody monitoring PNG affairs and issues that Scott Waide was one of the country’s outstanding journalists with a great deal of courage and integrity, and an example to all reporters in the Pacific.

Dr Robie is also convenor of the PMC’s Pacific Media Watch freedom project.

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MIL OSI – Source: Evening Report Arts and Media

Mary-Louise O’Callaghan: Time we heard the Pacific’s take on the Pacific

Covering the Pacific … “we might even learn a thing or two about the nations and the region within which we live .” Image: Shane McLeod/The Interpreter

ANALYSIS: By Mary-Louise O’Callaghan

It is both apt and overdue that veteran ABC correspondent Sean Dorney was last night awarded the Outstanding Contribution to Journalism at the 2018 Walkley ceremonies.

Judged by the trustees of the Walkley Foundation, this award not only recognises Dorney’s extraordinary body of work built over four decades chronicling life and politics in the Pacific, especially Papua New Guinea, but pays homage to one of the last of a near extinct breed of old-time expat Pacific correspondents who lived and breathed their rounds as long-term residents of the communities upon which they were reporting.

Australian newsrooms, instead of panting and pontificating about the growing influence of China, might be better served by tapping into Pacific conversations.

READ MORE: Podcast by Bond academic, student wins Walkley Award for journalism excellence

Mary-Louise O’Callaghan … “not uncommon in the two decades either side of the turn of the century for Pacific correspondents to report on unfolding events such as the Bougainville secession crisis or expose corrupt or inept governance.” Image: The Interpreter

Sprung from the bad-old and arrogant days of colonial dispatches referencing “restless natives” and “strange customs” when first nation’s peoples served merely as the backdrop for the white man’s conquering and efforts to “civilise”, it can be argued that for a time these rusted-on corros (who not infrequently through their marriages, gained the privilege of the unique insight of living life within a Pacific family), served as useful intermediary interlocutors in the transitional societies of post-independent Pacific states.

As nations such as PNG, Fiji, Solomon Islands, and Vanuatu fought to different degrees to shake off their colonial framing and fashion a culture of accountability of their own, correspondents like myself and Dorney strove to facilitate and amplify indigenous views of events in these nations. This was both in our reporting for Australian audiences, or, in Dorney’s case, for the entire region. His reports were broadcast back into the countries he covered by Radio Australia, the ABC’s once wonderful but now defunct shortwave radio service.

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Reporting crises
With the additional resources afforded our first-world news bureaus, it was not uncommon in the two decades either side of the turn of the century for Pacific correspondents to report on unfolding events such as the Bougainville secession crisis or expose corrupt or inept governance that indigenous journalists literally couldn’t afford to do.

As late as 2003, my “scoop” as The Australian’s South Pacific correspondent on the Howard government’s decision to dispatch a 2000-strong Australian-led Pacific intervention force to restore the rule of law in Solomon Islands after several years of unrest, was lifted by the national newspaper, The Solomon Star to run as their frontpage splash.

The only difference being that, unlike The Solomon Star’s newsroom, I worked for a media outlet that could bear the exorbitant cost of international phone calls; I had the means to contact Solomon Island government officials to confirm the story after their meetings in Canberra.

Much has been written in the past decade or so warning about the dangers of the disappearing resident Pacific correspondent, as first Australian Associated Press, then Fairfax closed their bureaus in Suva, Port Moresby, and Honiara, and in many cases wound down the network of stringers who reported for them elsewhere in the region.

The ABC is now the only Australian media outlet still maintaining a permanent presence in the South Pacific region with its bureau in Port Moresby.

But as we are all learning, with disruption comes new opportunities and with digital disruption, in particular, has come new ways of gathering, reporting, and disseminating news.

Hear from the people
Here’s the rub: should we really be lamenting the passing of the old-fashioned foreign correspondent, particularly in our own region?

Or is this a chance to embrace the opportunity to hear from the people of the Pacific in their own voices with analysis from their perspectives and news priorities that reflect Pacific agendas?

There is today a prolific cohort of indigenous journos, bloggers, and social commentators already daily reporting, dissecting, and disseminating their nations and region’s affairs with the insight only an indigenous member of an indigenous society can have.

Australian and New Zealand newsrooms, instead of panting and pontificating about the growing influence of China, might be better served tapping into these conversations.

If we joined them, we might even learn a thing or two about the nations and the region within which we live.

Mary-Louise O’Callaghan lived and reported on the Pacific as a foreign correspondent with Australian metropolitan daily newspapers for more than two decades. In 1997 she won the Gold Walkley for Excellence in Journalism for her investigative reporting exposing the Papua New Guinean government’s ill-conceived decision to hire foreign mercenaries to end a war for secession on the island of Bougainville. Her book Enemies Within, Australia, PNG and the Sandline Mercenary Affair, was published the following year. She is now working for World Vision Australia where she leads the Public Affairs team. This article is republished from the Lowy Institute’s Interpreter with permission.

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MIL OSI – Source: Evening Report Arts and Media

Scott Waide: PNGFM news boss calls for investigations, penalties for troops who assaulted journalists

Parliament Haus in Waigani … scene of the reported assault against PNGFM journalists. Image Scott Waide’s blog

Scott Waide’s blog highlights an open letter by Genesis Ketan, director of news, PNGFM:

As director of News for PNGFM, I am very disappointed at the manner at which two of my reporters – one male and one female – were assaulted by disciplinary officers while covering the storming of Parliament on Tuesday,  20 November 2018.

They were simply there to do their jobs and cover the proceedings of what was happening at National Parliament when they were accosted by a group of inflamed disciplinary officers, both police and correctional service officers.

Upon seeing the journalists – one officer called out “Em ol Reporter ya, ol laik kisim wanem kain story, paitim ol”. (“They are reporters, what kind of story are they here for, beat them up.”)

READ MORE: RSF condemns exclusion of PNG journalists

Police Commissioner Gary Baki … received PNGFM’s assault complaint. Image: Loop PNG

The female journalist was manhandled by a group of police officers who pulled at her shirt attempting to rip it:

“One of the police officers pulled out my camera from my bag and smashed it right in front of me. While I was trying to take in what was happening, another officer pulled my bag causing the leather handle of my bag to break. He then threw my bag on the ground, kicked it towards the other officers, they in turn kicked the bag back to him, emptying out all my belongings in my bag. Another officer picked up my phone and smashed it while others were shouting and yelling abusive languages.”

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She was pushed back and forth during the commotion with just one elderly officer attempting to assist her and help her out to safety.

At the same time, the male reporter was separated from his colleague, then told to put his camera away and not film or take shots.

“During the struggle, I was attacked by a Correctional Service officer at first, which then led to police officers surrounding me and attacking me. During the incident, I was trying to see what was happening to my colleague, but kept getting punched until one Police Mobile Squad officer pulled me away to safety. I had my vest broken, my note book gone and the company camera destroyed by the officers.”

PNGFM has written a letter of complaint to Correctional Service Commissioner Stephen Pokanis and Police Commissioner Gary Baki calling for those involved to be penalized.

Such an attack is an attack on our media freedom when journalists should be protected and not be subjected to such attacks for merely doing their jobs.

Meanwhile, at separate media conferences on Thursday, November 22, both Commissioner Pokanis and Commissioner Baki were informed of the assault against our journalists and have given assurance they will investigate this matter thoroughly.

– Genesis Ketan, director of news, PNGFM

Scott Waide’s blog columns are frequently published by Asia Pacific Report with permission. He is also EMTV deputy news editor based in Lae.

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MIL OSI – Source: Evening Report Arts and Media

2018 Fiji elections – the ‘fake news’ catchphrase of this poll but beware

By Sri Krishnamurthi

“Fake News” was the catch phrase of the 2018 Fiji Elections – the second democratic elections since Commodore, now Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama, carried out Fiji’s fourth coup in 2006.

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama … reelected with easily the strongest personal vote in the Fiji general election but his FijiFirst party has lost ground since 2014. Image: SK/PMC

That FijiFirst with 227,241 (50.02 percent) votes won the elections with just over half of 458,532 votes cast, giving it 27 seats, is testimony to how nervous it was going into the elections.

The Social Democratic Liberal Party (SODELPA) won 181,072 votes (39.85%), close to 40 percent of the vote and gets 21 seats in parliament, doing better than it did in 2014, while the National Federation Party completes the makeup with 33,515 votes (7.38 percent) and three seats in the 51-seat Parliament.

“SODELPA – It’s strong indigenous propaganda supported by some deliberate misinformation contributed to a much improved performance, compared with 2014,” said the pro-government newspaper Fiji Sun today in its analysis of the elections.

This was a quaint way of accusing SODELPA of indulging in fake news by the government’s self-confessed propaganda organ.

FijiFirst … triumphs again in a general election, but only just. Image: SK/PMC

In his statement on winning the elections yesterday, published in the Fiji Sun, Bainimarama took the unusual step of accusing the other national daily newspaper, The Fiji Times, of colluding with the opposition in a thinly veiled attack on SODELPA.

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“These same disruptive politicians of old, aided and abetted by The Fiji Times did not care to tell you the truth – the truth that iTaukei (Native) land is not only safe like never before under our Constitution but as total land holding has grown under FijiFirst,” he said in a statement.

‘Dishonest politicians’
“In fact it was only under the leadership of these same dishonest politicians that iTaukei land was actually and permanently alienated.

“Their lies and deception knew no boundaries, as individuals, whole communities and religious sentiments were slandered and belittled in an atmosphere of political deceit. They were willing to create economic chaos and undermine our economic future in their greed to win government,” Bainimarama said in his statement from New Zealand, where he was attending his brother Sevenaia’s funeral.

The 48-hour media blackout period – extended until Saturday, November 17, to allow for 22 polling venues to be opened for 7,458 people who were affected by floods – made it easy for social media trolls to make mischief.

At a press conference during the election, Ashwin Raj, the CEO of the Media Industry Development Authority (MIDA), admitted to being caught out by the ferocity of fake news and the social media.

In an interview with ABC’s Pacific Beat programme. Pacific Freedom Forum (PFF) co-chair Bernadette Carreon put her finger on the problem.

She said the vacuum left by the media blackout had led to fake news and misinformation being shared.

“The media is not allowed to publish any information regarding the election and so there have been reports of some fake websites coming up during the blackout and we call it fake news because it could potentially influence the voting,” she said.

Fact checking
“Media or the readers cannot fact check because the media is not allowed to air any news or information about the election process.”

That fake news dominated the media at the Fiji Elections Office (FEO) for more than two days was hardly surprising – as nothing could be reported on the campaign or the candidates.

FijiFirst’s financial statement for the nine months until 30 September 2018. Image: SK/Twitter

It has been reported on Twitter that FijiFirst, from the financial declarations last month, spent $1.9 million on advertising and $80,000 on social media as of 30 September 2018. (See image)

However, the media blackout and fake news did not have any influence on the Monday before the elections when SODELPA leader Sitiveni Rabuka faced the High Court for the appeal by the Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption (FICAC) against charges of corruption which were initially dismissed.

The appeal was subsequently dismissed as well to loud cheers from his supporters.
The media scrum was a sight to behold as Rabuka emerged from courtroom victorious accompanied by his protégé Lynda Tabuya.

With more than 2000 people singing Fijian songs in harmony he was escorted down the steps of Parliament which backs onto the court house.

It appeared to be in defiance of the government which have for so long subdued the Fijian people and their natural exuberance.

Sigh of relief
It clearly signalled the portent of what was to come two days later in the elections, and one shudders to think of what could have happened that day had he lost the court case.

But, for now a collective sigh of relief in Fiji, relief that stability continues with murmurings of corruption, relief that a strong opposition is in place, and 10 women have made to Parliament making up 20 percent of the seats, but it bodes for uncertainty in the 2022 elections.

As Professor Jon Fraenkel from Victoria University of Wellington, a visitor and speaker at the University of the South Pacific, told the Australian Associated Press (AAP) on November 14.

“Many indigenous voters are wary of the endless polarisation and mind games of FijiFirst, and there is also considerable anti-Muslim sentiment targeted at the Attorney-General and his many appointees.”

A third term in government is difficult for any party and the warnings are already been written on the wall for FijiFirst – the people have spoken and will again.

Sri Krishnamurthi is a journalist and Postgraduate Diploma in Communication Studies student at Auckland University of Technology. He was attached to the University of the South Pacific’s Journalism Programme, filing for USP’s Wansolwara News and the AUT Pacific Media Centre’s Asia Pacific Report.

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MIL OSI – Source: Evening Report Arts and Media

‘The people have spoken’ – Fiji Times comments on a split election

The Fiji Times editorial … “The challenge for individual voters is to cast aside differences, and unite for a common goal, to move our nation forward.” Image: PMC screenshot

EDITORIAL COMMENT: By Fred Wesley, editor-in-chief of The Fiji Times

Yesterday marked the end of the 2018 Fiji General Election.

It marked the end of a period that culminated in two weeks of intense campaigning.

In the heated battles, parties clung onto strategies they calculated would woo the important component in the election process — the voters.

Today’s Fiji Times front page. Image: FT/PMC

However that panned out, campaigning reached unprecedented levels of attacks, some personal at times.

The attacks inched their way onto the various social media platforms, raising the profile of this particular election.

In the end though, before the writ for election was handed over by the chairperson of the Fijian Electoral Commission, Suresh Chandra, to the President of our nation, Jioji Konrote yesterday, the masses had spoken.

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The FijiFirst party got 227,241 votes when the final results were tallied. Their highest votes were from the Western Division, accounting for 91,902 of their total count.

The Voreqe Bainimarama led-party received 65,901 votes from the Central Division, 34,291 votes from the Eastern Division and 31,073 votes from the Northern Division.

The party received 4074 votes through postal ballots.

The Social Democratic Liberal Party (SODELPA) polled the second highest votes in this year’s polls, making up 39.85 percent of the total votes cast with 181,072.

Their highest votes were from the Central Division where they collected 67,255 votes.

The Sitiveni Rabuka led-party gathered 43,813 votes from the Western Division, 35, 013 votes from the Eastern Division and 30,919 votes from the Northern Division. SODELPA received 4072 votes through postal voting.

The National Federation Party recorded 33,515 votes when the final results were released yesterday.

Out of this, 12,025 were from the Western Division, 10,941 from the Central Division, 5457 from the Eastern Division and 4336 from the Northern Division.

The Biman Prasad led-party received 756 votes from postal voting.

The results meant FFP came off with 27 seats of the 51-member Parliament, while SODELPA came off with 21 and NFP with three to make up the 24-member Opposition.

It was good to note that the new Parliament includes 10 women, five in government and five in the opposition. Congratulations certainly are in order for Mr Bainimarama and his party.

He has the huge task of bringing together a nation that has been split in this election.

His challenge would be to understand the needs of the 227,094 voters who did not vote for his party. For now, all battles must be put on the backburner for the good of the nation.

The challenge for individual voters is to cast aside differences, and unite for a common goal, to move our nation forward.

The masses have spoken.

They have given Mr Bainimarama and FijiFirst the mandate to govern for the next four years.

We must embrace that fact.

That is the beauty of democracy.

Republished from The Fiji Times, 19 November 2018.

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MIL OSI – Source: Evening Report Arts and Media