"For Benjamin Bradlee, journalism was more than a profession - it was a public good vital to our democracy," President Barack Obama said in a statement released by the White House on Tuesday evening. A true newspaperman, he transformed the Washington Post into one of the country's finest newspapers, and with him at the helm, a growing army of reporters published the Pentagon Papers, exposed Watergate, and told stories that needed to be told."
"Ben Bradlee was the best American newspaper editor of his time and had the greatest impact on his newspaper of any modern editor," said Donald Graham, the former publisher of the Washington Post.
'Aggressive reporting' Bradlee played a key role in pursuing what became known as the Watergate scandal, which eventually toppled President Richard Nixon in 1974.
The scandal began when five men were caught trying to break into the offices of the Democratic National Committee in the Watergate complex in Washington, on 17 June 1972.
The intruders were adjusting bugging equipment and photographing documents. Bradlee encouraged two journalists - Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein - to pursue relentlessly the unfolding story. When secret tape recordings of Nixon's complicity in covering up the scandal came to light, the president was left with no choice but to resign. The story of the newspaper's coverage of the Watergate scandal was later portrayed in the film All The President's Men.
Bradlee - who fought in the Navy during World War Two - became a reporter in the 1950s. He soon became close friends with the then senator and future President John F Kennedy. Bradlee became managing editor at the Washington Post in 1965 and was promoted to executive editor three years later.
"From the moment he took over The Post newsroom in 1965, Mr Bradlee sought to create an important newspaper that would go far beyond the traditional model of a metropolitan daily," the newspaper wrote in its obituary.
"He achieved that goal by combining compelling news stories based on aggressive reporting with engaging feature pieces of a kind previously associated with the best magazines." In 1971, Bradlee decided to publish the so-called Pentagon Papers - a secret study of the Vietnam War broken by The New York Times. Bradlee acted against the advice of lawyers and the entreaties of top government officials. A legal battle then began, with the Supreme Court later upholding the right of newspapers to print the leaked papers.
Fijileaks Editor: "Dear Journalism Students at USP and Fiji National University. Russell Hunter and Victor Lal are honoured to have been bombarded with e-mails to speak to you on the art of investigative journalism in Fiji. Since Hunter and Lal are banned from Fiji ('Rama's banishment') following their revelation of Frank Bainimarama's then Finance Minister Mahendra Chaudhry's secret $2million, we have decided that the best way the two could reach you all (for they don't want you or your lecturers to be taken to the army camp and made to do the 'exercises') is to wait for their story which will be serialized in the Fijileaks and titled HARYANAGATE - In Search of Mahendra Chaudhry's Secret Millions: The Inside Story.
An Opinion By: Mick Beddoes
The two analysis of Nemani Delaibatiki [Fiji Sun Oct 17 & Oct 20] contain far too many untruths that it is necessary for me to state the facts to ensure the people get the truth.
Principal Administrative Officer & Other positions
The Party Leader asked me to take charge of the Opposition office in Parliament soon after the final results were announced on September 23rd. Our team of volunteers were also tasked with liaising with the Secretary General who herself was only appointed to the position 7 days earlier and we were just 8 working days away from the first sitting of Parliament.
Only those involved in setting up new offices will appreciate the amount of effort and time it takes to get 7 offices and Board room ready to be fully operational and staffed in just 8 working days is no easy task and all credit goes to our volunteers and the Secretary General’s office.
We were not able to enter the premises until our members were sworn in, so we technically started on October 6th but were fully operational on the7th.
I am acutely aware that there are dozens of loyal and dedicated supporters of SODELPA who are qualified to take charge of the Parliamentary office and I know there are dozens more who can fill anyone of the 7 positions available.
However, there are only 7 positions so those who miss out will be disappointed, however given the constraints in time and the need to ensure we are ready, decisions needed to be made to ensure the Opposition was in place and ready to go from day one, and we managed to do just that.
I have sought and received the endorsement as the Opposition Leader’s nominee to head the Opposition Office in Parliament from the SODELPA Management Board, National Executive and Parliamentary caucus.
We have submitted out list of staff to the Secretary General for her consideration and we have sought to have our appointments on a temporary basis so that we can continue to provide the support to our members of Parliament, as we set about advertising all of the positions available in accordance with Sec 79 of the constitution. This includes the position of Principal Administrative Officer.
All supporters of SODELPA will have the opportunity to apply and be interviewed by a panel consisting of a member of the Management Board and Parliamentary Caucus and the Leader.
This is what we have done and why we have gone about it as we have.
For the record there is no Secretary or car that comes with the position of Principal Administrative Officer, my views about the Razor Research and Fiji Sun remain the same and the absence of facts in the articles I refer to above just serves to further solidify my position. I have never suggested that SODELPA would win 30 seats, my estimate was always about 20 with other parties making up about 8 seats.
I have always maintained that the only way for SODELPA and her partners to lose would be if the election process was compromised. We now know it was and once we complete our exercise on the extent of the compromise, then this question will be answered.
I never led any media campaign for SODELPA, what I did do was organize some specific DVD interviews with specific candidates and officials on specific issues and distributed throughout Fiji to counter the bias and one sided media coverage of the Sun and others. It was successful from my point of view because some 79,000 people viewed it on our Facebook pages and thousands more watched in on DVD.
It is hilarious that as promoters of Equal Citizenry’ the Fiji Sun should themselves be questioning why I as a non iTaukei should be asked by the Leader of the Opposition to head the office where all Members of Parliament are iTaukei?
The fact that Ro Teimumu actually did that should make it clear to all that as far the Leader of the Opposition is concerned, race has nothing to do with her appointments or recommendations.
Asking Dr Biman Prasad to be Shadow Finance Minister and Chair of the Public Accounts reinforces the point.
Anyone who understands a little about the Westminster system of governance, knows that the Leader of the Opposition is always the Alternative Prime Minister. The listing of Ratu Naiqama’s name against Prime Minister Bainimarama’s name and portfolio is because Ratu Naiqama is Shadow Minister for Lands & iTaukei Affairs.
The supposed inside story about the selection for Alternative Prime Minister as described by Mr Delaibatiki is pure imagination and speculation. All of the Members were asked to consider their personal strengths and select a Ministry that they felt they could best contribute towards. That was it. Ro Teimumu selected Education, Arts and Heritage and Ratu Naiqama selected Lands and iTaukei Affairs.
There was never a question about who the Alternative Prime Minister was.
The decision by the SODELPA members of Parliament to contribute towards paying the office volunteers some money was something that they did without any urging from me or anyone else. It was a great gesture by the Hon Members and when I heard about it I thanked them on behalf of the workers. There is no Beddoes Fund, just the wild imagination of the analyst.
As of the date of this response, none of us in the SODELPA opposition Office are receiving any pay.
It is probably difficult for Mr Delaibatiki and his masters to understand given that they have all been hoodwinked into believing the ‘my way or the Highway’ method of management for the past 8 years that in a democracy there are different views and everyone is entitled to express their views .
SODELPA as a political organization is no different, we all speak our minds and we sometimes disagree on things and decisions made, but everyone is entitled to their opinion and they are heard and they express their views freely.
More importantly, none of our members fear being picked up in the middle of the night, taken away and beaten up for speaking against something. That’s what a democracy is all about, that’s how SODELPA operates and disagreements are not in themselves a bad thing, it’s a healthy thing to have as it helps to stimulate the mind. Fiji Sun should try it sometime.
I extend to Mr Delaibatiki and others to visit the Opposition Chambers, ask us for the facts and we will gladly provide this. All we ask is that you print it.