Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Ant-IG on the march

Remember as kids when we went fishing with the kerosene lantern and the reef fish on seeing the bright light would momentarily freeze, long enough for us to stick the spear through it.

Another analogy is "Like a deer in the spotlights", for those of you reading from the comfort of your Auckland homes or in Yagoona or in Washington D.C or San Francisco.

That's what the IG appears to be at the moment: caught in the spotlight.

There is no doubt that the IG has been ill-advised and is paying the price. The momentum since Good Friday has definitely swung towards to the anti-IG forces.

At the moment there are as many as 10 anti-FMF blogs on the web. These are run individuals and groups such as the one formed in Yagoona in Sydney on Saturday night (18 April 2009). Some stand totally discredited and exposed while others have sprung up in recent days.

By placing restrictions on the media, the IG has created an international media firestorm.

You see, we all have our little "secret codes".

Like "No man left behind" for the soldiers. Well the journalists also have their code. And measures such as travel bans and media censors will invoke that unwritten code for others to flock to their defence. And so they should.

Would the London Times reporter have flown to Fiji if the media had not been placed under such restrictions? Probably not.

New Zealand based journalists have started a blog since Good Friday to publish Fiji related news, a direct result of the media censorship. The blog with the mathematically inspired name sprung after the author was banned from entering Fiji and has taken to publishing the blog has his way to get back at his detractors with active local support.

There is a war of words on folks. Not with bombs and guns but with blogs and words. And at the moment , it seems that that anti-FMF forces are on the march.


Noob Saibot said...

Your blog quite correctly sums up what has been kept under the wraps for some time.

The recent actions by the IG have merely further aggravated the emotions of the very people it tried to suppress through media censorship and other heavy handed tactics.

The meeting held at Yagoona was fueled with the emotions of those who had read what the international media had misinterpreted and the final conclusion drawn by the Fijians living abroad was that Fiji was becoming the next Bougainville. The international media did nothing to ensure that the views they portrayed of Fiji and the situation here were accurate and merely played on the emotions of those it knew would act as catalysts to create further instability. The IG has also been ill-advised of many actions it could easily have done in a more appropriate and acceptable manner. The censorship of the media regarding news about the IG is a good example. The views of the media have, as I mentioned in an earlier comment, been against the govt. of the day from the beginning – particularly, this govt. The obvious reasons for this continued repulsion of the govt. by the media are because of the threat of permanent censorship and the harassments faced by the journalists as they tried to get information during the very early days of the coup. In Fiji, journalists have an unrealistic view that they have the right to report anything and everything and that their actions cannot make them accountable to anyone – they are, in fact, under the false impression that they are above the law.

The military also played a crucial hand in upsetting the delicate balance in the relationship between the media and the state. During the early days of the coup, the military approached all state related issues in the only manner it knew best – the military way. This manner may be considered to be disciplined but it certainly does not yield the most conducive results in the end. When the military first took over the state, many among us were happy that Fiji was finally going to have a govt. which believed in the removal of corruption and encouraged fair play. But as the days grew on, the views of the majority slowly began to change. The military moved with swiftness to curb any form of uprising and the deaths of citizens only fueled the hate which had been slowly growing as the army sought to appoint those it knew from the barracks and those who had been friends of the army to key positions in govt.

As the days grew on, it became apparent the military knew little about managing the affairs of the state and its methods in dealing with most political issues was blunt and foreign to those who had dealt with the govt. for many years. When the issue of diplomacy within the country, particularly with certain embassies came to breakdown, the military did what it knew best – it got rid of the problem using its might and the power of the law was used to back this might. The initial concepts of the coup were quickly beginning to be lost and as a colleague of mine remarked recently, we are heading into the same situation as the creatures in the story “Animal Farm” written by George Orwell. Orwell wrote about how the animals eventually forgot about their master’s cruelty and believed that the pigs were truly looking out for their best interest. In fact, the truth of the matter was that the situation was worse than it had been when humans ran the farm. The reality of the situation was that the pigs had cleverly managed to wipe out any evidence of good that the humans had ever done for the animals and stamped in its place, falsely created stories about how the animals had changed the way of the farm for the better. Is this not similar to the very situation Fiji is in? We hear so much about corruption being stamped out and improvements in almost every aspect of the state’s lifestyle that we are beginning to believe it to be the truth. The devaluation of the dollar has come and gone but nary a sound was made – is it because of censorship of because we believe that it is really good for the country? I meet with a lot of people every day and most if not all have resigned themselves to the fact that the govt. knows what it’s doing.

As you quite rightly stated in your blog, the manner in which this govt. operates is merely adding fuel to fire. When people are unable to express their views, they merely look for an outlet and this time, the outlet has been the Internet. In less than a month, a significant number of anti-govt. blogs have sprung up and all call for a bloodbath or some sort of retaliation against the govt. While many of these blog sites are merely toothless tiger, sites such as this continue to portray the true situation we are currently in. While many sites continue to pour hate speech down the throats of its members, sites such as this continue their struggle to ensure that the real news gets out – the result is somewhat dampening though, when you realize that the international media refuses to acknowledge sites such as this and shower praises on hate sites and sites which call for civil violence. It is indeed a clear signal as to which way the media prefers to swing. Bloodshed, rape and pillaging is good for business – balanced reporting means lower sales and less prominence. The more the gore, then better the sales.

At the end of all of this, the reality of the issue has not changed. We have come three years down the road and to date, very little progress has been made. If anything, our rights and freedoms have been curbed in a way which may be seen as stifling to some, but good for others. After all, the US has the Homeland Security Bill which allows for the suspension of key human rights whenever the defense forces feel the need for it. The people in Fiji and our Fijians abroad should be on their knees thanking the stars that this has not happened in Fiji – yet.

Anonymous said...

Noob Saibot - i enjoy reading your postings as much as Loyal - very balanced and fair!! Thank you!!

Anonymous said...

Thanks from me too Noob Saibot - great positng and interesting read.

Pacific in the Media said...

Bula, the record needs to be set this sraight on this one - the blog you refer to does not belong to Mike Field. I am the editor of that blog and the name is one that has been coined by several of us here in New Zealand, not just Mr Field. His blog - among others - is listed as a link on our page, that is all. A number of blogs have sprung up in the last few weeks as a result of the recent developments in Fiji and our's is one of them. Good luck to everyone.

Anonymous said...

LF - me thinks there is a difference between anti Military v Anti Fiji - I think some people are anti Fiji when they ask for bans, sanctions and boycotts that will destroy the livelyhood of the poor people in Fiji.

I think most level headed people realise we need to move forward to a peaceful solution to the mass that we find ourselves in. Whether we like it or not at some stage we have to work with Banimarama.

i am starting to see and hear more from the pro Fiji supporters online who dont want to hurt the people of Fiji but want a realistic solution

Anonymous said...

It is certainly interesting for me to read that article. Thanks for it. I like such themes and everything connected to them. I definitely want to read more soon.

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