“The independence of media and MIDA” (Open letter to MIDA Chairman and Letters to Editor, sent 20 Aug 2014).
“The independence of the media and MIDA”
Open Letter to MIDA Chairman and The Fiji Times, Fiji Sun, Island Business)
(sent 20 August 2014)
With just a month to go to the elections, it is important that both the media journalists who are interviewing political candidates, and MIDA which is supposed to be regulating the media, are not just neutral, but seen to be neutral, so that political parties and candidates feel some confidence that at least on these media debates beamed to the voters, they are on a level playing field.
With our recent history of media censorship, that faith in the neutrality of the media has not been strong, and it has unfortunately been shaken further by the last minute announcement of two candidates for Fiji First Party.
One of them, Veena Bhatnagar, whose attitude when interviewing the Leader of the National Federation Party (Professor Biman Prasad) and Aiyaz Khaiyum on FBC’s Aina program, indicated that she adored the Fiji First Party, confirmed it a mere week later by appearing as a candidate for Fiji First Party.
The CEO of the supposedly neutral MIDA (Matai Akauola) also has been announced as a candidate for the Fiji First Party.
As the parties and candidates and perhaps some members of the public will be interested in the answers, may I request through your column, the neutral Chairman of MIDA to ask his former CEO (Matai Akauola) when exactly he began discussions with the FFP to stand as their candidate.
Can Mr Ashwin Raj also ask the FBC CEO (Riyaz Khaiyum) when he was informed by his journalist Veena Bhatnagar that she was having discussions with Fiji First Party to stand as a candidate for them.
You will understand that the answers have a bearing on the ethics and professionalism of these two political candidates, also possibly of interest to some voters.
Mr Ashwin Raj might also like to clarify why he has not replied to my well-publicised open letters to him (sent 27 July, 2014).
Professor Wadan Narsey