FTUC National Secretary writes to Fiji Sun on its recent (mis-)reporting tactics

Fiji Sun Editorial Comment today (pg 42. 5.3.2015)

The FTUC responds to the actions of the Fiji Sun who chose to comment , through its editorial column today,  on a  Media Statement sent out yesterday  on “ FTUC on PM’s Address  to the UN Human Rights Council” without publishing it. Below is the email sent to the Fiji Sun Reporter, Mr Nemani Delaibatiki,  by the  National Secretary FTUC, Mr Felix Anthony,  expressing dismay at the lack of  ethical and  balanced reporting by Mr Delaibatiki, the Training Editor of the Fiji Sun.


Dear Nemani,

I read once again with bemusement your editorial comment in your paper. You have chosen to comment on my press release without even reporting it. I ask if this is ethical at all. Clearly it is unpalatable for you to see any condemnation of Governments actions, no matter how ruthless or criminal in nature their actions are.

You have claimed that I have “resurrected the events of the past to substantiate”our “ campaign to discredit the Government.” I do not discredit the Government. The Governments own actions of the past do that very well. You do admit that the past was dark in the following paragraphs. However, we cannot forget the atrocities of the past and call it “broken records.” You would surely not say that if your son or a close family member was a victim. You are one of the privileged ones who has chosen to believe every word as gospel that Government says. As a journalist and an experienced one, you are doing discredit to your profession.

Understand, that when the Prime Minister stands up on the world stage and makes pronouncements as he did, he must be open to scrutiny. He must be reminded that what he said is untrue. That is what we call democracy. Of course our Prime Minister supposedly champions accountability. So why should he not be made accountable for his and his Governments actions. Why should you attempt to shield him. Don’t you believe in accountability?

In so far as the elections go and the question of mandate , let me simply say that despite all the skullduggery and media bias (which you were also part off) during and after the elections, the PDP received in excess of 18,000 votes. I also have the mandate of workers in this country. That’s our mandate to speak. What mandate do you have to tell me that the public is sick and tired of what happened in the past?

Nemani, I understand you have a job to keep. In the process please also try and have a conscious. It is indisputable that even today workers rights are denied. You are not allowed to speak your mind let alone print them. The very fact that your newspaper does not print our press releases indicates how free the press is or independent. Decrees that violate our rights cannot be challenged in Court and you say “we put all this behind us”. Well if we did, we would not be able to move forward.

You continue to harp on FTUC boycott of ERAB. Yes we chose not to participate until we are clear as to what role ERAB is to play other than a talk shop and a show for the world to see that “we are talking.” That’s a reasonable call. Would you not want to know why you are invited to any meeting? Common sense Nemani , nothing so complicated or sinister. The FTUC is willing to move forward and if you see my press release (which you did not publish) on the MOU you will see that I have called on Government to sign the MOU that was agreed to by all parties and the ILO Contacts Mission. You choose to ignore that. Moving forward for us does not mean we agree to everything the Government shoves down our throat as it means to you.

Nemani lets be clear. We want our rights back. We will not beg for them. They are our birth rights. Equality and justice belongs to all citizens of Fiji. There cannot be exemptions like immunity for criminal behavior. The fact that you support exemptions for the privileged and dislike “broken records” that remind you of the “dark past” tells us you condone such criminal behavior.

I don’t want to issue a press release knowing you will never report it. I will however put a copy of this email on the FTUC website for the record.

You have a good day
Felix Anthony