Raj said USP Journalism academics Patrick Craddock and Doctor Matthew Thompson were alleging that the Fijian Government continues to intimidate journalists in the lead up to the general election and have also made serious allegations of torture and intimidation used by the Fiji Military Forces to ensure that there is no civil disorder.
Raj said that on the accusation that the military is using torture and intimidation to silence journalists, with just a little over two months before the general election, are absolutely without any foundation. Raj further stated that the political situation in Fiji maybe less than ideal but a lot has been achieved since 2006 and we must move beyond the tireless debate between legality and legitimacy raised by the two academics from USP.
On the registration of Islands Business Magazine Editor, Samisoni Pareti and the non-issuance of accreditation for the Pacific Islands Development Forum, Raj says a quick call to MIDA office would have confirmed that he was registered with MIDA. Meanwhile USP Academic Patrick Craddock said that they were just responding to news articles and did not need to verify the information. Craddock also commented on The Age newspaper article about the Army Commander saying it was just a response on what he had said. Craddock said the release does not have to be approved by USP as it is not a university release. He said they made comments as independent academics. Source: Fijivillage News
Fiji's Ministry of Information’s Permanent Secretary Sharon Smith-Johns has admitted it had acted on incorrect information when it refused accreditation to veteran journalist Samisoni Pareti to cover the Pacific Islands Development Forum Second Summit.
The summit took place in Nadi last week and members of the media were requested to apply for accreditation with MINFO. In a statement, she admitted their decision was the “result of miscommunication between the Ministry and MIDA” and apologized to Pareti “for basing our decision to refuse his accreditation to the PIDF on what now appears to be incorrect information.”
MINFO Permanent Secretary Sharon Smith-Johns has also ordered an investigation into the matter “to make sure that an incident like this is not repeated in the future.” MIDA chairman Ashwin Raj also confirmed today that Pareti is in fact registered with MIDA adding that in his own view Pareti "should have been given access to PIDF but that is not the MIDA’s call." Source: Fijilive.
Smith-Johns previous bullish statement:
The Permanent Secretary for Information has today given specific reasons about why two people did not get their accreditation for the Pacific Islands Development Forum last week.
Sharon Smith-Johns said in the case of Netani Rika, his application was lodged five days after the official deadline for accreditation.
She said the deadline was June 6th, and Netani Rika’s application was lodged on Wednesday June 11th.
Smith-Johns said because of the visit of the Indonesian President, the deadline was required to be strictly adhered to for security reasons.
In the case of Samisoni Pareti, Smith-Johns said he was not registered as a journalist with the Media Industry Development Authority - as is required by law - at the time of his application.
She said the Ministry of Information informed Samisoni that while his own application to cover the PIDF could not be processed, Islands Business - his new employer - was welcome to send another journalist to cover the event.
The magazine did not take up this offer.
A statement released by University of the South Pacific journalism academics Patrick Craddock and Doctor Matthew Thompson said they are appalled that Samisoni Pareti was denied accreditation to the Pacific Islands Development Forum without explanation. Source: Fijivillage News