As Fiji Sun tells us Raj sent the judgment only on Friday before taking 'UN funded overseas trip' Fijileaks has been told Raj peeved because Fiji Sun sat on his three-page complaint he gave to police which Fiji Sun never came around to publishing it - the charges against him dropped! Others say its all just a calculated ploy, 'Dog and Pony Show', between MIDA and Fiji Sun to convince Geneva that MIDA chairman is 'neutral' and there is need to retain Media Decree - citing his case against Fiji Sun!
Publisher/chief executive officer Peter Lomas said the ruling appears to have been made by Mr Raj alone and not a properly constituted MIDA meeting.
The newspaper is strongly supporting its managing editor/news Jyoti Pratibha.
Mr Lomas said Ms Pratibha’s robust reporting is being targeted through a smear campaign and complaints to MIDA by people linked to the Opposition.
The Fiji Sun’s lawyers will be looking at all options in response.
The ruling in question was dated 9 February but was not received by the Fiji Sun from Mr Raj’s office until Friday 20 February.
It has been circulated extensively on anti-Government social media sites, and has been praised by SODELPA.
Social Democratic Liberal Party (SODELPA) youth president Pita Waqavonovono had complained about a news report and a Coconut Wireless item.
Mr Raj ruled that it was wrong for the Fiji Sun to say that SODELPA used race and land issues during the general election campaign.
It was also defamatory to suggest in a Coconut Wireless item that Mr Waqavonovono had needed to have a shave and use some deodorant during the vote counting.
Mr Lomas said the Fiji Sun had submitted there was no evidentiary basis for the complaints to be upheld. It will now respond strongly.
He said all in the news media should be concerned about this issue. This ruling effectively threatens any efforts for more robust reporting, commentary and news media analysis, he said.
If allowed to stand it could mean that Fijian journalism can be stifled by the opinion of one man.
We publish on this page the full ruling signed by Mr Raj and sent to the Fiji Sun on Friday before he left on a United Nations-funded overseas media trip.
Publisher/chief executive officer Peter Lomas said the ruling appears to have been made by Mr Raj alone and not a properly constituted MIDA meeting. Sure, what about Raj's ruling in favour of Fiji Sun against Wadan Narsey's complaint - did Raj consult other members of MIDA when he told Lomas: "It must be equally noted that any interference by MIDA in this process would ordinarily be deemed as an assault on the independence of the media by Wadan Narsey amongst others."
Sent: Wednesday, 17 December 2014 4:12 p.m.
To: Peter Lomas; email@example.com; Fred Wesley
Cc: Soko Vakacegu
Subject: RE: Response to MIDA on Wadan Narsey complaint
Dear Mr. Lomas,
I acknowledge receipt of Fiji Sun’s response to Wadan Narsey’s official complaint to MIDA.
I note that following his complaint, Narsey’s letter about transparency and appointments processes at USP was subsequently published by The Fiji Times. This was a decision of The Fiji Times.
I wish to reiterate that as much as the media is free to publish, it equally has the right not to publish.
It must be equally noted that any interference by MIDA in this process would ordinarily be deemed as an assault on the independence of the media by Wadan Narsey amongst others.
Therefore, MIDA will not treat Narsey’s letter as an exception and compel the Fiji Sun into publishing it.
The matter is now closed.
From: Peter Lomas [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Tuesday, December 16, 2014 10:24 PM
To: Ashwin Raj
Cc: Soko Vakacegu
Subject: Response to MIDA on Wadan Narsey complaint
Mr Ashwin Raj
Media Industry Development Authority
re: Wadan Narsey complaint of 5 December 2014
Dear Executive Chairman,
We're unsure on what grounds Mr Narsey is basing his complaint.
But in relation to his letters we point out:
1. Letters to the editor are published at the discretion of the editor. This is advertised on our letters page.
2. Mr Narsey is a regular writer for The Fiji Times and his views are featured there.
3. Before Mr Narsey began being featured in The Fiji Times we had published some of his letters. He later admitted he was unaware of this because he said he did not buy the paper.
4. When Mr Narsey wrote complaining about a Coconut Wireless item we published referring to him, his response was included in the next Coconut Wireless. With equal prominence.
Ph: (679) 9990712