TV War Breaks Out

  A television war broke out last night between the Fiji Broadcasting Corporation (FBC) and Fiji Television Limited (Fiji TV). The row is over the use of the word “idiots” in
08 Nov 2016 11:00
TV War Breaks Out
FBC chief executive officer Riyaz Sayed-Khaiyum. Photo:


A television war broke out last night between the Fiji Broadcasting Corporation (FBC) and Fiji Television Limited (Fiji TV).

The row is over the use of the word “idiots” in a press conference by FBC TV  chief executive officer Riyaz Sayed-Khaiyum.

He said he used the word to describe two vitriolic anti-Government social media activists and a Fiji Exposed Forum Facebook page.

But a Fiji TV news report failed to reflect that according to him. As a result someone has lodged a complaint with Police against him, saying the word was derogatory and implicated those who had commented against him.


Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said he would lodge a formal complaint against Fiji TV to the Media Industry Development Authority of Fiji (MIDA) today.


FBC chief executive officer Riyaz Sayed-Khaiyum told Fiji Sun yesterday that he had written a letter to Fiji TV telling them what they did wrong.


“In that letter I mentioned that I wanted an apology by the closing hour of business today (yesterday) and a retraction to be broadcast on Fiji One News,” Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said.


“The fact is that I still haven’t got anything yet.


The only message that I received from them mentioning that they had received the complaint and they are looking into it.


“I had given them time but still nothing has been done.


“I had also stated in the letter that if they failed to do what I had requested I will make a formal complaint to MIDA today and other relevant authorities.”


Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said the media conference last week on Friday November 4, the FBC  make an official statement in an attempt to close the chapter on the Wasea Bhasha issue.


“I was asked a question by a reporter who was about five inches away from Fiji TV reporter on what I thought about comments made about the issue on social media,” Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said.


“I then asked the reporter who were making these comments and he specifically mentioned Fiji exposed forum, Rajendra Chaudhry and Shalendra Raju.


“I then said ‘I would rather not comment about idiots’.”


“My very specific response was to a very specific question about individuals and a group page that are known to be fervently anti-Fiji and anti-Fijian Government,” he said.


“In fact the two individuals and anonymous comments on the Fiji exposed group page have on numerous occasions made horrible accusations and defamatory remarks against the Prime minister, his Government and many individuals in Fiji.


“The same people have also on numerous occasions encouraged certain individuals and groups to spread fear in our country calling on people to march, rebel and revolt against the authorities amid calls for general civil disobedience.


“These people continue to make all kinds of dangerous, defamatory and destructive comments against individuals and the Fijian government without any fear or impunity.


“In fact many comments on these three Facebook pages have even called for the murder and assassination of Fijian government officials.


“It is these specific people that I referred to as idiots.”


“I believe your reporter deliberately did not state in his story who I was referring to as idiots and saw this as an opportunity to manipulate the situation to further his agenda. It was either that or he is protecting the anti-government and anti-Fijian elements or because he has got an axe to grind because we are seen as competition from where he resigned under very contentious circumstances.


“Whichever the option, it is quite apparent that all semblance of journalistic integrity, principles and ethics were totally disregarded by your reporter when he wrote his story.


“So much so that his story is now being used by certain individuals to cast aspersions against me


claiming that I had called the general public ‘idiots’.


“A police complaint has been made regarding this however Fiji TV could also very well be dragged into this issue that was the making of one of its own.


“Taking into consideration your journalist’s blatant disregard for the basic journalistic principles of truth, accuracy, fairness and impartiality I would like Fiji TV to make an immediate retraction of the story and to apologise for the inaccuracy and harm your reporter and his Fiji One news story has caused the FBC and myself.


“We expect the apology and the retraction to be broadcast on Fiji one news, to be printed in the daily newspapers and to be included on all Fiji TV social media pages.


“We want this done in the interest of putting an end to such blatant disregard of media ethics.”


Fiji TV’s chief executive officer, Geoffrey Smith, could not be reached to comment by phone.


An email was sent to him, however, there was no response when this edition went to press. Mr Smith is believed to be away overseas.

 Edited by Maraia Vula



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