SUNBIZ

Little Sympathy For Terminated Fiji TV Executives

Two former executives of struggling Fiji Television Limited yesterday took their side of their terminations to a news conference. Their claims over lack of fairness got no sympathy from those
08 Jan 2015 12:05
Little Sympathy For Terminated Fiji TV  Executives

Two former executives of struggling Fiji Television Limited yesterday took their side of their terminations to a news conference. Their claims over lack of fairness got no sympathy from those they criticised.

Former chief executive Tevita Gonelevu and Head of Content Tanya Waqanika described their dismissals as unjust. They made strong allegations against Attorney-General and Minister for Communications Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, and key members of Fiji TV’s majority shareholder, Fijian Holdings Limited.

These included that the Government and Mr Sayed-Khaiyum played a part in their dismissals.

It came during a news conference organised by Mr Gonelevu and Ms Waqanika at Studio Six on Waimanu Road, Suva.

The pair were terminated amidst fall out from a row over broadcasting of the World Rugby Sevens Series. This embroiled World Rugby, Fiji TV board and management, majority shareholder Fijian Holdings and the Fijian Government.

In the news conference Ms Waqanika, a lawyer, made possibly defamatory comments against Mr Sayed-Khaiyum, Fijian Holdings chairman Ioane Naiveli and chief executive, Nouzab Fareed. The duo also claimed allegedly leaked correspondence appearing on an anti-Government blog site was the real thing.

Mr Gonelevu, an accountant, said he and Ms Waqanika, acted in the best interests of Fiji Television Limited, which held the rights to the rugby. The Government said the matter was covered by a decree designed to ensure TV coverage of major world sporting events involving Fiji are accessible to all Fijians.

Mr Gonelevu, in a more moderate comment, said: “There was some interference and there was also some overstepping of boundaries of authority by some people.

“Some of them are not acting in the best interest of Fiji TV Limited.”

The pair want a commission of inquiry into the whole matter. They said they are confident that should they take up their claims to court they had support from key people. They also said there had been no settlement over their dismissal.

Ms Waqanika said: “I can confirm with you I have the full support of the legal fraternity. I’m a former council member of the Fiji Law Society. I’m the first iTaukei woman to sit and they’ve said ‘Tanya when you’re ready, you tell us’.”

During a later news conference yesterday on another issue, journalists asked Mr Sayed-Khaiyum for his reaction to the allegations made by the duo.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum did not wish to comment immediately. He said to send him questions after which he also said he would stick by his previous statements to the media. These included calling ludicrous claims that the Government had any part in terminations at a private company governed by its own board.

Mr Naiveli, on Fiji TV last night, said the allegations made by the pair were untrue and that the board had made a proper decision that was known to them all.

Meanwhile, Fiji TV today advertised for a new chief executive – see advertisement on Page 40 today. It critically requires applicants to have extensive knowledge and understanding of the media industry, including programming and news.

Feedback: ranobab@fijisun.com.fj

 

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