Sep 17, 2014

Watchdog hits out at Fiji media ban

Fiji opposition groups say intimidation, lack of coverage means September polls won't be free and fair


Opposition parties in Fiji say intimidation and a lack of media coverage mean the coming elections will not be free and fair.

The September poll will be the country's first since the 2006 military coup in which Frank Bainimarama seized power.

Rear-Admiral Bainimarama has been on been on the hustings promoting his new party, but opposition groups say the political playing field is far from even.

Ro Teimumu Kepa from the opposition Social Democratic Liberal Party of Fiji (SODELPA) says their own election campaign has been troubled.

"Up to this moment in time there are some things that are happening which does not augur well for the free and fair that we are hoping for," he said.
When the party has campaigned in some communities, Ro Teimumu says police have turned up afterwards to question people about what was said.
"When a stranger arrives at a village, you know right away that person does not belong to that village," she said.
"If they come from the police or the military then they believe it's some form of intimidation."

Around the world media coverage is part of any election campaign, but SODELPA says it can't get its message out.
"We normally have coverage towards the back of the paper - after Bainimarama's photo and whatever he has to say on the front page, and then after all the supermarket ads and the sports and film and television ads.
Ro Teimumu Kepa, Social Democratic Liberal Party of Fiji
Ro Teimumu says media censorship after the coup means many outlets won't run comments or stories critical of the government.

"We normally have coverage towards the back of the paper," she said.

"[It comes] after Bainimarama's photo and whatever he has to say on the front page, and then after all the supermarket ads and the sports and film and television ads."

There's also concern that Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum is also the elections minister, which SODELPA says is a conflict of interest.

Their concerns are echoed by the National Federation Party's leader, Dr Biman Prasad

"We're telling the whole world we're holding an election - yet the world must also see there are all these restrictions that are in place which do not allow political parties to engage freely," he said.

Dr Prasad says laws governing the elections, political parties and the media all favour the government.
"People who are opinion makers, academics, NGOs, trade union officials - they've all been barred from taking part in political activities and actually talking about issues," he said.


Independent candidate

If opposition parties are finding it difficult, independent candidates are doing it even tougher.
Roshika Deo and the supporters of her 'Be The Change' campaign lack the funds to buy TV and newspaper ads, and have been forced to turn to social media

"We've been in a military dictatorship and we still remain in a military dictatorship and as a result it makes it hard," she said.

Ms Deo is running as an independent candidate after gaining prominence raising the issue of violence against women and children.
We've had the misogynist attacks, the rape threats...the threats of violence on social media.
Roshika Deo, Independent candidate

The subject matter, her young age and gender have prompted an angry backlash from some communities.

"There has been certain older, seasoned people that have not been very supportive," she said.
"They have been created additional barriers for us, have been using a lot of sexist, ageist language.
"We've had the misogynist attacks, the rape threats, you know the threats of violence on social media."

While opposition parties and independents battle to be heard, Frank Bainimarama has no such worries, with every move of his Fiji First Party relayed by the media

Despite facing what appear to be very long odds, opposition figures like Ro Teimumu Kepa say they won't stop campaigning.

"We can just live in hope," she said.

Fiji dictator's true colours

By Marc Edge

Nothing epitomizes the past eight years of media repression in Fiji better than the video of dictator Frank Bainimarama slapping a woman TV journalist in the face last week.

It captures not only the contempt with which Bainimarama has treated the press, but also the brutality with which he has treated people, including and especially women.

Now some of Bainimarama’s staunchest supporters are re-thinking whether he would make a fit leader for a democratic Fiji, as should all citizens in advance of Wednesday’s poll.

3News reporter Amanda Gillies was in Suva from New Zealand to cover the election campaign and approached Bainimarama at a rally.

“Can you promise there won’t be another coup,” she asked the obviously irritated dictator.

“Can you just move away from me?” replied Bainimarama, who told Gillies he didn’t want to discuss the subject.
Click picture to view video of Josaia (Frank) Bainimarama slapping Amanda Gillies

He first pushed away her microphone, then began waving his hand in her face. “I will move away,” promised Gillies, who courageously refused to be intimidated and persisted as any good journalist should. “But I just want to know if you . . .”

She couldn’t finish her sentence because Bainimarama slapped her in the face, causing her to drop her microphone at the 12-second mark of this clip.

The video, which has been making the rounds on Facebook, has elicited a shocked response from viewers. Bainimarama has been rumored for years to have participated in the beating of women who were arrested for advocating democracy in the wake of his 2006 coup, including one who was pregnant

He also famously condoned the beating of escaped prisoners last year after a video of the atrocity was posted to the Internet. But to watch as the prime minister gives the back of his hand to a woman leads to the inescapable conclusion that this thug is simply not fit for leadership. 

As campaigning culminates, even some of Bainimarama's longest-serving sycophants are deserting his sinking ship. Crosbie Walsh posted a sheepish entry which he labelled a “Personal Confession” on his blog yesterday. “What if I’m wrong,” worried Croz.
When I started this blog in May 2007 it was to offset the distorted reporting of NZ journalist Michael Field, and I was writing mainly for an overseas audience. . . . Since then, as I read about what the Bainimarama government was doing and talked to a wide range of people in Fiji, my position gradually changed. . . . To make matters worse, a number of government-initiated judicial actions seemed personally charged and vindictive. And its failure to have public audits and reveal salaries laid it wide open to further charges by the Opposition.  
If even crazy old Croz is questioning his beloved dictator, then you know Bainimarama is going down. “He’s a military man and he definitely has a very short fuse,” admitted Croz. “Parliament will be a very different environment. If FijFirst wins and Bainimarama forms Fiji’s next government, his power will be limited by law.”
Bainimarama is normally a friendly person who enjoys being with people. I am optimistic that this positive side of his personality will be used to good effect in Parliament, and the “short fuse” kept in check. 
This incident is only the latest in a long line of erratic and even violent behavior by Fiji's self-appointed prime minister. 
Former U.S. ambassador Larry Dinger outlined a litany of abuse in cables made public in 2011 by Wikileaks. Dinger quipped that “a psychiatrist would have a field day with Bainimarama,” reported the Sydney Morning Herald.
The US embassy reports also document cases of rape and sexual assault by military personnel, including at least one instance of a group of detainees forced to engage in group sexual acts. In another case a prominent human rights activist was “felt up” by a senior military officer and was “warned she would receive worse treatment unless she stopped her activities.”
Then, of course, there is Bainimarama’s shameful treatment of Father Kevin Barr, a former supporter who made the mistake of joking in a letter to the editor last year that, given the loans received from that country, Fiji should consider incorporating the flag of China into its flag instead of the Union Jack.

The Catholic priest recounted then receiving a telephone call from an angry Bainimarama, who called him “a f*&^%$ up priest.” Then came the text messages. “F*&^% U arsehole, . . Start saying your goodbyes Father Kevin James Barr,  Australian national, work permit as a missionary, expiry date for permit 31/12/2013. . . Go and be  a missionary in China.”

Tales of Bainimarama’s out-of-control drinking have long circulated around Suva, including one recent incident in which he is said to have publicly soiled himself. It would be understandable if the citizens of Fiji decided on Wednesday that such an idiot, thug and monster is not fit to lead their country.

Sep 16, 2014

The Spirit of Freedom in Fiji

A Fijian Christmas Story

By Marc Edge

Not everyone has a blog, although almost anyone can start a blog. It takes a while to build up a readership, however. ...... Fiji Media Wars has now passed 100,000 page views, which compared to many blogs is small potatoes. But I know FMW has a dedicated readership, and events in Fiji have reached a point where many wish to speak out about what has gone on there for the past eight years.

The climate of fear that has visited the country during Bainimarama’s reign of terror has prevented much of his abuse from going unreported. The question becomes, how much truth can come out in the next two days? Here is a first installment. There is no video, or else I am sure it would be much more impactful.

Frank was There 
By Peter Waqavonovono 
I want to share with you a short explanation of one of the reasons why I feel Frank Bainimarama cannot be allowed to run Fiji. 
I have seen the true face of Bainimarama’s leadership. I know many people in Fiji share the same experience as I do. 
Christmas Eve 2006, myself and other pro-democracy activists were taken from our homes late at night and brought to the QEB Military Camp under the guise of a meeting with the Military Council. What happened instead was an attack on all of us. 
When I was brought into the camp, there are two things that directly stood out for me. One is that all the lights in the QEB Camp were turned off and secondly was the overbearing smell of Alcohol. 
I recall the events of that night clearly. It involved soldiers punching and kicking us, and threatening to murder us. At one point, I was certain that I would not leave that place alive. 
Notable people at the QEB Military Camp that night were Frank Bainimarama, Roko Ului Mara and Pita Driti, all visible under the moonlight. Only a group of about 15 men were involved in the attack. While we were been attacked by a few soldiers in the army ground, I looked up to see Frank Bainimarama kicking and verbally abusing me. He called soldiers to come and drag me to the cricket pitch. 
On the cricket pitch soldiers were ordered by someone to run over us and I recall been told at this point to keep my head down. A soldier came to me and pulled me by the hair, and started cutting patches of my hair off. I was told that he would cut me up and throw me in the sea – that no one would care about me. 
During this assault, there were men singing Christmas Carols by the Ground and cheering on their peers. I also recall been ordered to run to Lami and take down banners at the Vugalei Democracy Shrine. While we ran, I was especially targeted by three soldiers who kept hitting and swearing at me. They later pinned me down, and proceeded to kick and punch me, they put me in a military truck and drove up towards Nadua Secondary School, where they literally threw me out of the moving Truck. 
At this point, another truck with a different set of soldiers, took me back to the Military Camp. A soldier in this Truck gave me water and asked for Apologies. He told me that not all soldiers were doing this and they were following orders ‘from the top’. When I reached the
camp, I was hurried into a cell; and joined by 3 soldier who told me that Bainimarama was very angry with my comments. 
They proceeded to further torture me, trying to get me to promise to never speak out against Bainimarama. This point of the ordeal was very traumatic. 
Another soldier with the voice similar to Roko Ului intervened and told off the people in the cell, He ordered that the beatings stop, and after this they put me in a car and they drove me out towards Nabua Secondary School, where they asked me to get off. I recall been helped by two young boys from here, who took me to the Matua Taxi Base in Mead Road, where I got onto a Taxi and went straight home to a family that was clearly angered at what the Military had done.  
All soldiers that participated in the attack smelled of Alcohol. 
I was told that night, to leave Suva. I left on Boxing day for Levuka where I was informed by my Family that someone had sent soldiers to my house in Suva, to take me in for another meeting. I was later on informed via the media that I was put on a travel ban. 
I recall thinking to myself, that if these men with Guns feared a young person’s mouth or opinions, then I was definitely in the right.  That’s why they fear us, because we breathe and preach Freedom. We are willing to die to purchase a better Fiji. I have never gone silent and since then I have been arrested 3 times for just speaking out against the Bainimarama Government. 
And in joining SODELPA I have invested much of my energy and time into ensuring many young people understand the Dictatorship we are trying to dethrone. Every day I report to the SODELPA Office and stand alongside many other Freedom Fighters who have been arrested and abused for refusing to accept the Coup of 2006. There is a sense of Honor in their daily activities, a dedication to serving people and safeguarding Fiji. 
We do not have a bad Military. We just have very bad self serving leaders. 
This man Frank Bainimarama is a paranoid control freak, a man who masks all his crimes with Freebies and Development. Do not be fooled, Frank is afraid of you! He is afraid that more people will hear the truth about the bitter road we have had to endure for the last 8 years. Frank Bainimarama is pumping as much resources as he can in order to prevent the TRUTH from been heard. WE the People, have a simple solution - Change the Government.  
Friends, after all the nepotism, militarisation of the State, the corruption, the Torture and the Intimidation, and even after all the deaths at the hands of the State, we have been asked to now vote for a Government of the People. And Bainimarama is pretending to be a Saint or our Savior. 
I am voting for the Party that will bring about real change, I dont need anything to be given to me Free. I am voting for The Party that will seriously look into human rights violations and take action. The Party that will restore and protect elements of the Fijian Administration and my Culture. I am voting for SODELPA because I know that peace is guaranteed. And many young people feel the same. 
When election day comes, I know it will be an emotional day for me and many other people in Fiji. My Hopes, Anger, Aspirations and Dreams will all rest on that tick. I pray that this message can be used, to show the true heart of people in SODELPA. For Freedom Hope and Glory and an end to the COUP CULTURE.

Sep 15, 2014

Bubu's Kati Club does the Maths

Some of my friends old as they are have had colourful lives. Some of them have truly amazing mathematical skills.

One of these neighborhood mathematicians has been frightening the God-fearing village in which she lives.

Here is her equation for the Fiji elections which are not really free and fair  .  More confusing to be frank.

However , Voreqe Fiji's dictator  she says, has the number of 279.

We shall add these numbers up:

2+7 = 9

so now we have 9+9

Add these up together and we have  = 18

OK now ragone - have you had your glass of free milk ?

Acha  good ...... now we add this up :   1 + 8 = we have another 9

Now if you take all three 999's and turn this upside down, VOILA - we have Voreqe's true number !

Even with the devil's media black-out, this will be a hard image to erase from the all-powerful mind.

Happy Voting ragone's.