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Report : ‘Fiji Times Gets It Wrong, Again’

Report : ‘Fiji Times Gets It Wrong, Again’
The Fiji Times editor-in-chief, Fred Wesley
December 06
11:05 2017

The Attorney-General and Minister for Civil Service debunked a newspaper report that cited a circular in claiming a provision in Government’s new civil service reform policy endangered teachers’ jobs.

In a statement yesterday, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum refuted a report in The Fiji Times claiming teaching jobs in Fiji were “in jeopardy.”

It aired the comments of National Federation Party leader Biman Prasad, who has been a regular critic of the policy

“Today (yesterday), The Fiji Times reported on a baseless claim that teachers’ positions are in jeopardy,” the Attorney General said.

“This is not the first time that the Fiji Times has reported on unsubstantiated claims, and in this instance, they did so without directly citing the very circular that was the crux of their article.

“This type of reporting is not only irresponsible, it is negligent. The Fijian people deserve better of their media organisations.”

The A-G said it was “a false accusation designed by political opponents to sow fear and insecurity among Fiji’s teachers and the public.”

The aforementioned circular was clarified by the A-G.

He said: “The circular in question merely states that some senior Ministry officials’ positions would be advertised at new, higher salary bands.

“This is in accordance with Government’s clearly stated civil service reform policy of advertising all positions that are set to receive salary increases of over 15 per cent in order to ensure that the most qualified candidates hold these higher-paying positions.

“The ministry is also advertising for new classroom teachers to fill any temporary positions and other vacancies that will be granted substantially higher salaries.

“Government has been consistent in explaining that all classroom teachers who were being offered long-term contracts would have those contracts renewed, provided there were no issues with their conduct and performance.”

The Fiji Times editor-in-chief, Fred Wesley was unhappy yesterday in his response to the statement.

“It is unfortunate that The Fiji Times has been labelled irresponsible and negligent,” Mr Wesley said.

“We reported a statement by the NFP and made the effort to get a response from the Attorney-General on Sunday and Monday.”

The A-G’s statement further added that news media must take responsibility while reporting, especially with the 2018 General Elections fast-approaching.

“All of this is information that is well-documented; it has been transparently articulated on Government’s road shows, and it could have easily been verified by The Fiji Times,” Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said.

“Instead, their reporter and editors made a calculated choice to write a story under an inflammatory headline–– a decision that was undoubtedly designed to confuse thousands of teachers and members of the public.”

Political parties are expected to launch fierce campaigns as the elections draw closer and the advent of ‘fake news’ has provided competition to traditional news stories.

As a substitute term for propaganda, fake news is a phenomenon that constantly dogged the 2016 United States Presidential Elections.

Edited by Jonathan Bryce

Feedback: sheldon.chanel@fijisun.com.fj

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