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OPINION: Skirt Journalism Claim Reeks Of Hyper Masculine

Ashwin Raj is the chairperson of the Media Industry Development Authority (MIDA).   The recent invocation of the expression “skirt journalism” by Hon. Member of Opposition Professor Biman Prasad needs
25 Jul 2015 10:26
OPINION: Skirt Journalism Claim Reeks Of Hyper Masculine
Ashwin Raj

Ashwin Raj is the chairperson of the Media Industry Development Authority (MIDA).

 

The recent invocation of the expression “skirt journalism” by Hon. Member of Opposition Professor Biman Prasad needs to be contextualised.

The expression “skirt journalism” was first invoked in the Fijian context in 1994 in the columns of Pacific Journalism Review following the controversy over an alleged sexual liaison between the then Prime Minister and a journalist from a major newspaper and exposed by the Review Magazine.

When I think about this expression genealogically, I am compelled to ask if Professor Prasad is intimating that Ms Pratibha is using her sexuality to procure news stories.

If indeed this was the intent then it is a serious charge levelled against a journalist that needs to be substantiated.

Sadly, it reeks of the kind of hyper-masculine and hetero-patriarchal attitude that the left of the political field often attribute to the military and all those other institutions that have monopoly over violence but we also need to recognise that sexism also flourishes in left circles and too often not the subject of our critique because it is coming from someone who has been calling for democracy.

 

Disparaging remarks

Such disparaging remarks from a Member of Parliament will do little towards instilling confidence in our media industry and our female journalists in particular.

More so, given the fact that politics is the domain of the masculine, we should do more to encourage female journalists to report on political issues.

It is also a strong indictment of the fact that while Professor Prasad laments the erosion of freedom of expression and media bias, what we need to equally give attention to is the issue of political biases that our politicians have towards the media.

While Professors Prasad and Narsey have every right to express their concerns about exclusive Government advertising, it is highly distasteful and an insult to the abject and those that have been the victims of serious human rights violations for these two armchair critics occupying an indomitable moral plateau to suggest that excusive advertising is tantamount to “gross violation of human rights”.

If they are principled then they should consider the decision by the Opposition to not engage with the Fiji Sun, FBC and CFL etc as an impingement on freedom of expression too!

 

Scopic reason

Democracy is built on our capacity to reason.

We must exercise scopic reason- that is reason untroubled by perspective as we deal with issues- no matter how contentious they are.

I am appealing to both politicians and the media to rise above petty parochialism and foster an ethos of constructive engagement.

Feedback: nemani.delaibatiki@fijisun.com.fj

 

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