Fijileaks: Did Fiji One reporter distort Riyaz Khaiyum's 'idiot' comment?
"I believe your reporter deliberately did not state in his story who I was referring to as idiots and saw this as an opportunity to manipulate the situation to further his agenda. It was either that or he is protecting the anti-government and anti-Fijian elements or because he has got an axe to grind because we are seen as competition from where he resigned under very contentious circumstances. Whichever the option, it is quite apparent that all semblance of journalistic integrity, principles and ethics were totally disregarded by your reporter when he wrote his story. So much so that his story is now being used by certain individuals to cast aspersions against me claiming that I had called the general public “idiots”."
Last week on Friday the 4th of November the FBC held a media conference to make an official statement in an attempt to close the chapter on the Wasea Bhasha issue. I as CEO made a very comprehensive statement about the issue in regards to what had happened whilst we both were away in Bali for the ABU GA.
I also explained in great detail how the matter was handled before and after my arrival back in the country and how the host/producer of the show Nemani Bainivalu was asked for his side of the story. I also very carefully explained at the media conference Nemani’s remorse at using irresponsible words on his show and how he took full responsibility for it. I also stated that despite his explanation the FBC viewed the matter very seriously and considering the stereotyping and offensive comments made Mr Bainivalu the FBC had decided to end its contract with Mr Bainivalu.
All these facts were explained thoroughly to everyone at the media conference including the Fiji tv reporter. However to our surprise the story about the media conference on Fiji tv the same night started off by saying …”Fiji broadcasting CEO Riyaz Sayed-Khaiyum has bluntly shifted the blame to Nemani Bainivalu the host and producer of the controversial tv show Wasea Bhasha. The state Broadcaster has removed the host in an attempt to put the contentious debacle to rest”. It seems your reporter in his haste to create further controversy about the issue has now got himself in a situation whereby he has deliberately twisted and manipulated the details of the media conference and got the facts of the story absolutely wrong. His claims that I had “bluntly shifted the blame…” .
As a former journalist you will see from the attached release that I read at the media conference that I did not “bluntly shift the blame”. FBC dealt with this serious matter and held responsible the person who wrote and made the irresponsible remarks on the show with subsequent action taken after a thorough investigation process. This is a blatant disregard for basic media ethics and principles on the part of your reporter. Your reporter also says that we removed the host of the show to …” put the contentious debacle to rest.” .
Again we had made it very clear in the media conference that we had ended Nemani’s contract after thoroughly investigating the matter because he had made comments that were in total contradiction to the FBC’s intention and policies as a responsible national broadcaster. We also said that Mr Bainivalu had taken responsibility for his actions and his parting with the FBC took place in an amicable and understanding manner. Of course this positive aspect of the issue was not mentioned in your reporters story. Unfortunately the matter does not end here. Your reporters next line in his story goes on to say ..”when the CEO was asked to respond to negative comments across social media, blog sites and by certain individuals. This is what he had to say…...”well I’d rather not comment about idiots.”
Your reporter then sought a response to this comment made by me from individuals and political parties. Not once did he state in his story that my response was in specific reference to two individuals and a face book group page. At the media conference I was asked a question by a reporter who was about five inches away from your reporter on what I thought about comments made about the issue on social media. I then asked the reporter who were making these comments and he specifically mentioned Fiji exposed forum, Rajendra Chaudhry and Shalendra Raju. I then said “I would rather not comment about idiots”. Your reporter of course could not have missed this conversation which was also recorded by a number of reporters present in the room including your cameras.
My very specific response was to a very specific question about individuals and a group page that are known to be fervently anti Fiji and anti-Fijian government. In fact the two individuals and anonymous comments on the Fiji exposed group page have on numerous occasions made horrible accusations and defamatory remarks against the prime minister, his government and many individuals in Fiji. The same people have also on numerous occasions encouraged certain individuals and groups to spread fear in our country calling on people to march, rebel and revolt against the authorities amid calls for general civil disobedience. These people continue to make all kinds of dangerous, defamatory and destructive comments against individuals and the Fijian government without any fear or impunity.
In fact many comments on these three Facebook pages have even called for the murder and assassination of Fijian government officials. It is these specific people that I referred to as idiots. I believe your reporter deliberately did not state in his story who I was referring to as idiots and saw this as an opportunity to manipulate the situation to further his agenda. It was either that or he is protecting the anti-government and anti-Fijian elements or because he has got an axe to grind because we are seen as competition from where he resigned under very contentious circumstances. Whichever the option, it is quite apparent that all semblance of journalistic integrity, principles and ethics were totally disregarded by your reporter when he wrote his story.
So much so that his story is now being used by certain individuals to cast aspersions against me claiming that I had called the general public “idiots”. A police complaint has been made regarding this however Fiji tv could also very well be dragged into this issue that was the making of one of it’s own. Taking into consideration your journalist’s blatant disregard for the basic journalistic principles of truth, accuracy, fairness and impartiality I would like Fiji tv to make an immediate retraction of the story and to apologise for the inaccuracy and harm your reporter and his Fiji one news story has caused the FBC and myself.
We expect the apology and the retraction to be broadcast on Fiji one news, to be printed in the daily newspapers and to be included on all Fiji tv social media pages. We want this done in the interest of putting an end to such blatant disregard of media ethics.
As of this moment we are only copying this email to MIDA. However Fiji tv’s failure to do as requested will result in this matter being officially taken up with MIDA and possibly with other authorities as well. Also please note that your newsroom is to cease referring to the FBC as a state broadcaster.
A state broadcaster is defined as………
”State media or state-owned media is media for mass communication which is "controlled financially and editorially by the state."
These news outlets may be the sole media outlet or may exist in competition with corporate and non-corporate media. State media is NOT to be confused with public-sector media, which is "funded directly or indirectly by the state, but over which the state does not have tight editorial control.”
Since we are not controlled editorially by the state nor wholly financed by the state your reporters need to refer to the FBC as either a public service broadcaster or a GCC since we are a corporate organisation.
I sincerely hope that Fiji tv will act in an honourable manner and appropriately address this issue by close of business today.