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Media Authority Labels The Fiji Times Video an ‘Act of Savagery and a National Disgrace’

Media Authority Labels The Fiji Times Video an ‘Act of Savagery and a National Disgrace’
Ashwin Raj
August 06
11:36 2018

The Media Industry Development Authority (MIDA) has slammed The Fiji Times for uploading a video on social media showing the grief of a young Ratu Navula College player.

The boy had just been told that his cousin had died in a road accident at Nabou. The cousin was on his way to see him play in the Powerade Rugby Deans semi-finals at ANZ Stadium last Saturday.

The accident involved a truck, a minivan and a car along Queens Road in Nabou, midway between Nadi and Sigatoka.

The video purported to show soon after he played with the Ratu Navula College rugby team against Ratu Kadavulevu School.

The student was visibly distraught and emotional after the news was relayed to him. He collapsed before being helped to his feet and ushered out of the scene.

Media Industry Development Authority chairperson Ashwin Raj slammed The Fiji Times for posting the video online and said it was contrary to the media code of ethics.

He said the posting of the video is an act of savagery and a national disgrace.

“This is about human decency and shame on everyone who has capitalised on this tragedy for fun or profit.”

The Fiji Times video, which was widely shared is understood to have since been taken down.

There was online criticism of the The Fiji Times, including from former senior newsroom staff members.

Mr Raj said: “Not only is it an assault on the dignity and an impingement on the privacy of the deceased and their bereaving families.

“The newspaper cannot claim to be oblivious of the fact that this is also contrary to the media code of ethics.”

What the law says

Section 15 of the Media Industry Development Act 2010 on Grief and Bereavement stipulates: “Media organisations shall respect personal grief, taking care to make any necessary approaches and inquiries with sensitivity and discretion.”

Fiji Times replies

But The Fiji Times editor Fred Wesley has defended its reasons for uploading the video.

He said: “Mr Raj is the chair of the Media Industry Development Authority.

“It is unwise of him to rush to judgment and condemn a media organisation before he has the full facts in any situation, particularly since it may be his job to deal with complaints to MIDA.

The Fiji Times had the consent of the student’s parents to film this scene.

“The aim was to show to our readers the wide-ranging emotional consequences of this tragedy. This was a matter of news judgment.

“We understand that not everyone will see this in the same way.”

Edited by Epineri Vula


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