January 23, 2009

The Media Muzzling Strategy

The IIG after getting one of their own to launch a fizzled media freedom and independence analysis (and we note that the author has not re-surfaced since) has been working fastidiously to muzzle the media.

Yesterday’s verdict by Thomas Hickie has already gotten the IIAG doing a celebratory jig . Khaiyum's jig is followed by his lackey, the IISG's, meke.

Ironically the IIAG’s had some interesting words in his war dance speech.

“The rule of law does not sit somewhere out there in vacuum while inequalities exist else where. The rule of law is a living, breathing ideal inside each of us to do what we note to be right,”.

Tou-friggin'-ché.

The supposedly learned judge in his summation also used the opportunity to offer the following:

"As to what should be the outcome, that is a matter for the judges hearing the case to decide, not to be pressured by the parties, lawyers, the media, politicians, academics or "ravings of a ratbag" byway of an opinion column, letters to the editor, on talkback radio, on television or on websites."

Lest we forget this is from an individual who was whining to other lawyers about being shut out of the cocktail circuit.

While the victim in this latest tactical move is conceding graciously, next on the chopping block is the Daily Post.

The global journalists federation however is not as conciliatory and inevitably the IIG will now be in the cross-hairs of fourth estaters at the global level. Something perhaps they did not envision in their plan.

While many in this country respect the rule of law and acknowledge that it is what keeps anarchy at bay, right from the word GO the judiciary has failed to bolster the respect of the public in its independence and impartiaity.

But here we have, in the IISG’s own words, a classic Freudian slip:

"What the court confirms today is that the Attorney-General has a public role and that is to bring these matters before the court.

"It's not prosecution by the Attorney-General, but it's the Attorney-General bringing the matter before the court in the public interest and that is very important.

"It is very important because contempt of this nature is a crime against the public of Fiji and we're satisfied with the result."

And there we have it. The grand plan. No more promulgations with the shelving of the first idea (which racks up their crime rates rapidly), but sharing the burden with the friendly courts and letting the judges make laws.

The last time we checked only elected representatives of Parliament have the constitutional mandate to make the laws that the taxpaying public want and need for a functioning society. Not the courts. No, No, No and Hell No.

But this is not a law you may surmise and you would be correct. The effect of this judgment and possibly the Daily Post one, will in essence serve as a hefty financial deterrent to voices (especially now Letters to the Editor) against the junta. Just like a law.

In case the IIG and friends, need reminding in Fiji today the 3 arms of Government (the Executive was taken by force, the Legislature is long dead and gone, and the Judiciary is not perceived as impartial or independent) are all on the same page leaving the taxpayers without a voice. It is only right that these voices be heard as they pay for the running of this country.

The pressing question that needs to be put out there is whether the bench is untouchable or perhaps more precisely Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

With the IIG now targetting yet again all outward communications, they have forgotten the simple fact that when the taxpaying public chooses to spend their disposable income and put their purchasing power towards trustworthy, objective views they are demonstrating the democratic right to choose who they want to hear from.

This simple act of democratic choice on a daily-weekly or monthly basis no judiciary or junta can ever overturn, overrule or deny.

As for Intelligentsiya we will gladly take up a "raving ratbag" tag as long as people are ensured their right to receive an alternative view, form an opinion and consequently make them known.

What's more we will maintain our growing contempt for the injustices that are emanating from the courts.

Stand Up and take a bow Fiji Times, Daily Post and Vili Navukitu for being our voice on that issue and the media houses especially for defending it. We will continue to be a thorn in the IIG's side until we can freely and fairly elect a government that is worthy of our taxes.

Freedom is the right to raise your voice.

1 comment:

FijiGirl said...

The litmus test will be whether they take similar action against The Daily Post, which the government partly owns and which printed the same wording.
Chodopu$$ is the only other person tried and found guilty of contempt in this way, and he was given a fine of $500. Using that rule of thumb, the fine for The Fiji Times' action should not have exceeded 74 cents.
God bless Fiji