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Pay Journalists More, Media Companies Told

Pay Journalists More,  Media Companies Told
From left:Manager Trainee News Fiji Sun Nemani Delaibatiki, Director of FHRC Ashwin Raj, CFL News Director Vijay Narayan and Fiji Times Deputy Editor-in-Chief Elenoa Baselala during the Press Freedom Day event at the Fiji National University Nasinu Campus on May 17, 2017. Photo: Kathrin Krishna
May 18
11:00 2017

The Acting Prime Minister and Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum feels that journalists in Fiji are underpaid.

Speaking at the Press Freedom Day event at the Fiji National University Nasinu Campus yesteday, Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said journalists had always been underpaid by the private sector.

He said there was a great need to look into this.

Relating to a past experience with a former newspaper editor, Mr Sayed-Khaiyum asked why journalists were being underpaid.

He said the former editor responded that journalists were picked and paid only $7000 – $8000 a year.

He said editors had this view in the past and some still to date because for them a journalist meant somebody who went to court or any event and just asked standard questions.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said he had seen so many journalists attending press conferences and asking the same questions without any idea of what the conference was all about.

He said journalists were sent to areas they were not specialised in and lacked intellectual knowledge.

He asked: “What exactly are journalists specialised in?”

He also asked how many companies had actually sent their journalists abroad for further studies and courses in areas they should actually specialise in.

He asked:  Why should journalists be paid so little money?

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said quality journalists in Fiji were no longer around in many media organisations with only a few still shining with a depth of knowledge.

He said journalism was not a career path that many had necessarily seen.

Many who had studied this programme ended up being public relations officers or media representatives, he said.

There had been a lack of investment by the private sectors on their journalists, he said.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said many journalists developed close relationships with politicians that they could not do critical analysis.

He said media organisations lacked intellectual input. There was a lack of in-depth analysis on a topical issue. He called for investigative journalism.

He urged journalists not be influenced or driven by particular interest groups and keep their mindsets free.

He also called on journalists to follow the Code of Ethics under the Media Industry Development Act that ensured the code of conduct.

The event also had guest speakers such as the Fiji Times Deputy Editor-in-Chief Elenoa Baselala, CFL news director Vijay Narayan, Fiji Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Commission director Ashwin Raj and Fiji Sun managing editor – Training Nemani Delaibatiki.

Edited by Ranoba Baoa


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