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Fiji Times Sensationalise News, Says EFL Chairman

Fiji Times Sensationalise News, Says EFL Chairman
Energy Fiji Limited (EFL) chairperson Daksesh Patel
July 31
13:49 2018

Daksesh Patel says there seems to be a tendency, by certain journalists to Sensationalise news based on incorrect information.

The Energy Fiji Limited (EFL) chairperson made the statement during a press conference to clarify reports published by the Fiji Times on Saturday and yesterday’s newspaper in regard to the Wainisavulevu Dam in Naitasiri.

“It is very sad that a newspaper, which claims to be Fiji’s oldest newspaper is bringing in facts that are not true or correct,” Mr Patel said.

“They are not factual at all and the points I wish to highlight is that some of them are incorrect and not in the best interest of this country or the people of this nation.

“It is unfortunate not to represent correctly some background information regarding this particular project.

“I wish to highlight that EFL, then FEA, acted lawfully. It completely and fully complied with the Environment Impact Assessment law 2005 Act.

“We ensured we followed every requirement  stipulated under the law in other words we followed the due processes. We had engaged and have consulted people where necessary.

“We have actually consulted land owners. It was part of the requirement to consult the landowners. They were happy with all the assessments and environment impact reports given to them.

“Some environmental experts have been quoted in the newspaper have actually given their side of the story. I am sure if you consulted other environmental experts they would give different reports.

“Obviously, when you consult two different experts then they give you two possible views. Professionals do not tend to think similarly.

“They tend to think differently so engaging on one set of professionals, who has this preconceived notion about a particular preposition will always give you only one side of the story,” he said.

Mr Patel asked why these people were raising issues now when they could have raised all these matters and concerns during the constructions of the dam?

“If they were so conscious of the environment then they could have raised their opinion in public through your newspaper or any other media to raise these issues but they kept quiet. That silence is an acceptance,” Mr Patel said.

“Their silent ignorance is now being raised and I don’t understand the reason when the processes have been finished.

“In fact, there was no criticism to be made then because we did follow the processes. There was no case to answer then.

“There are some impacts to the environment and we don’t deny that, but we fully made the disclosures as part of the environmental impact assessment. We in fact compensated the landowners by taking over the land.

“We paid the landowners. We have leased other lands affected by the flood.

“This is again a fact so when you say that EFL did not follow the process or insinuate that and report a factually incorrect statement in the newspaper defaming EFL that we raised it by eight metres is factually incorrect,” Mr Patel said.

Fiji Times comments

In response, the Fiji Times Editor-in-Chief Fred Wesley said: “The EFL press conference raised more questions than answers.  We will be exploring some of these questions in the next few days.

“This is an important issue of national interest and the Fiji Times will pursue it further.

“We do not accept that the facts on the story were “all wrong”. We will be asking EFL more questions in the days to come.

“Note also that we made every effort to get a response from EFL to balance our story.

“We have also asked Government Ministers for their responses. We received nothing.”

Edited by Percy Kean

Feedback:  wati.talebula@fijisun.com.fj

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