On 16 September 2006 a father was attacked arriving home just after 8pm and the attack was witnessed. The case dragged on for several years. The perpetrator even escaped from custody outside Lautoka High Court and got himself to India for a period of time. The small baby left behind in Nadi with his mother was only two months old. The couple had been to New Zealand for fertility treatment. No newspaper nor directly contacted Nadi or Lautoka journalist would touch this grizzly story nor the 2005 earlier one.
The names of reporters who failed to measure up are known and some still work in the Fiji media. Women were also murdered: in nightclubs; on beaches and others were routinely threatened with harm of one kind or another. Then .......Police Post Bures were serially set on fire in what now may be termed 'terrorist arson'. The aim was seemingly to strike fear and despair into the local population already besieged by home invasions, rapes and violent assaults.
The press were given plenty to work on but they chose to 'play mum'. Meantime, some of the family members where husbands had been killed, chose to leave for Australia or New Zealand to seek solace and safety. We did not discourage them. We actively assisted them to do so with alacrity. What standing or rating does the Fiji Media deserve from Reporters Without Boders? Sanctuary for a Fijian female journalist was sought in 2002 before she left to go to Eire/N Ireland. Her weight had fallen to a dangerously low level and still she was under duress in her Suva-based job.
Where was the support she required in Fiji? Why was there so little professional backing for those reporters and women police officers who wished to perform appropriately in a pervasive climate of threats and fear? The Chambers of Commerce were not ignorant of the facts. They were challenged - they shamefully failed us.