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Politicians Need To Be Fair On Media, Says MIDA Chair

Politicians need to be fair in their comments on the media, says Media Industry Development Authority’s (MIDA) chairperson Ashwin Raj. He was commenting on claims made following the Multinational Observer
30 Jul 2016 10:46
Politicians Need To Be Fair On Media, Says MIDA Chair
Supervisor of Elections Mohammed Saneem (left), with Media Industry Development Authority (MIDA) chairperson Ashwin Raj in Parliament yesterday. Photo: Paulini Ratulailai

Politicians need to be fair in their comments on the media, says Media Industry Development Authority’s (MIDA) chairperson Ashwin Raj.

He was commenting on claims made following the Multinational Observer Group report on coverage of the 2014 general elections.

“The report fails to acknowledge the fact that mainstream media endeavoured to capture a plurality of political perspectives in the lead up to elections which at times questioned the prevailing stereotypes about media bias,” he said.

For example, he said, the Fiji Sun newspaper published the views of FLP, NFP and SODELPA.

Mr Raj made these comments after making submissions before the Standing Committee on Justice, Law and Human Rights at Parliament yesterday.

The statement came after Opposition MP; Semesa Karavaki claimed that there were certain media outlets that were biased on their reporting and only focused on a particular party.

Mr Raj in his submission said the Multinational Observer Group Report had failed to acknowledge mainstream media.

Mr Raj said it was evident in various talk back shows, televised debates, contribution to opinion columns from varied political actors including independent candidates and letters to the editor by the general public.

He said sometimes when politicians were approached they refused to comment on issues so MIDA had advised mainstream media to include the refusal to comment in their stories.

Mr Raj said the media played an important role during the 2014 general elections.

He said ironically MIDA’s call to establish an independent media monitoring unit to address media coverage bias was heavily criticised not only by mainstream media but select political actors as another act of media censorship.

Edited by Rusiate Mataika

Feedback:  arieta.vakasukawaqa@fijisun.com.fj

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