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Ratu Naiqama said, “I condemn the total removal of local content on Sky TV”.
“Were the views of the Sky TV subscribers sought before this condition of sale was made? It is absurd that Digicel Fiji had to accept the 12 years license in return for “removing all local content from Sky programming.” He said.
Ratu Naiqama stated that there were many issues of concern coming out of this latest change which includes worryingly the question of the integrity and accuracy of the Fiji TV shares now that Sky Pacific has been sold to Digicel.
“What will become of Fiji TV without Sky Pacific operations? Will these changes have an impact on the direct shares of the company on the South Pacific Stock exchange market since Sky Pacific used to be owned by Fiji TV and was its cash cow?” he questioned.
Ratu Naiqama has said that the party over the last few days has received so many calls from consumers from the whole of Viti Levu including the interior of Naitasiri, Nadroga and Navosa, Ba and Nadi, whole of Vanua Levu, Kadavu, Levuka, Lomaiviti, Lau, Yasawa, and other such communities who are raising their ire over the sudden removal of the local content subtly and in particular Daily Fiji One News usually aired on channel 1, from Sky TV.
Subscribers in Taveuni, for example, included the likes of Mr. Frank Mitchell were the many aggrieved parties up in arms on the removal of the Daily news from Sky TV.
“This decision also smacks of a conflict of interest, the AG’s brother runs FBC TV and FBC TV stands to gain in terms of followers and sponsors now that Sky TV is totally restricted from airing any local content from Sky TV.
The decision by Digicel Fiji in quietly accepting the condition imposed by AG is also questionable. It questions the business model and principles they have adopted. It indicates that Government has sacrificed the right of the people to watch television on already existing platforms at the expense of increasing the revenue of FBCL.” He said.
Ratu Naiqama called this latest change as quite absurd and smacking of a lack of transparency and accountability by Government to the people which required investigations by FICAC.
“They have omitted to discuss with the thousands of sky Pacific dish owners especially those in the outer islands and interior of the mainland, who bought those dishes to ensure they had access to Fiji TV programmes that would entertain them whilst they are in these remote areas,” He said.
Such business decision without user consultation is detrimental to viewers even though its market segment is low. It simply means Sky TV viewers are restricted to freedom of information and freedom of choice potentially leading to uninformed viewers.
Ratu Naiqama stated that what this changes literally means is that in order to view Fiji One news, or programmes like the popular Shortland Street and the parliamentary programmes, people will have to purchase new antennas which not only costs a lot of money, but is not easily accessible to those in the outer islands and interior of the mainlands as they have to travel again to Suva to purchase these antennas.
Ratu Naiqama stated that it was the reachability of the Fiji TV signals around Fiji in the beginning that led most to change to Sky Pacific and use its platform, as well.
Ratu Naiqama stated that he hoped all Fiji TV's 12 transmitter towers that deliver terrestrial signal around Fiji are working fine, more so when HK 7s is coming up next week.
He stated that he has been reliable educated that with this change, viewers that cannot receive a terrestrial signal due to the absence of a terrestrial tower near their area (eg- Rotuma, upper Yasawa, Savusavu, Kadavu (excl Tavuki), Ra & many other parts of Fiji will no longer be able to view the Fiji One channel (and any local programs that is aired on Fiji One) unless these required towers are in place.
“Let's hope that all Fiji TV's 12 transmitter towers that deliver terrestrial signal around Fiji are working fine, more so when HK 7s is coming up next week,” he said.
Ratu Naiqama meanwhile also cautioned that Government is now staring at possible catastrophe should they not review their stand on the issue as fellow Fijians that cannot receive a terrestrial signal to allow them access to Fiji One will not know when a natural disaster hits until it passes through their villages.
Ratu Naiqama has hit out at the Consumer Council of Fiji and the Commerce Commission in their roles. He said it looked like these institutions including Government, were selective in their operations and were there to promote only their biased interests, and this could shortly lead to the reverting of Fiji and its people back to the dark ages.