Human Rights Chief Calls Out Fiji Times

Director Raj questions why the newspaper has not done anything about “racist comments” made by its journalists concerning Rugby World Cup on Facebook.
25 Oct 2019 10:30
Human Rights Chief Calls Out Fiji Times
Source: Mai Life

The Fiji Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Commission director is calling on The Fiji Times to issue a statement on the allegations of its journalists allegedly engaged in a racist diatribe on social media.

This call comes after the newspaper’s journalists allegedly made racist comments in relation to the Fiji Airways Flying Fijians performance at the Rugby World Cup in Japan. They include a Facebook post in reference to Indo-Fijians as uncircumcised.

Director Ashwin Raj, in a statement said: “Can The Fiji Times issue a very clear statement about what it is doing about allegations that several of its journalists were allegedly engaged in a racist diatribe on the social media in relation to the rugby World Cup?

“The irony of course is that The Fiji Times published a story in relation to Fiji’s UPR only a few days ago quoting a report of the Special Rapporteur on racism, xenophobia and related intolerance on his visit to Fiji in 2016.

“So is The Fiji Times upholding and embodying values of non-discrimination, human dignity and equality or is it merely occupying a moral high ground from which it judges others while vilifying individuals because of their ethnicity?

“That the alleged racist comments were made on the social media by journalists who happen to work for The Fiji Times in their private capacity and not by The Fiji Times itself does not exonerate them from the fact that they are Fiji Times’ journalists leaving us to wonder how these deep seated racial prejudices, evidenced from their social media commentary, ultimately affects their journalistic ethics, impartiality and their ability to foster cohesion in a country that has been deeply divided along racial lines,” Mr Raj said.

Last week, the Fijian Media Association general secretary, Stanley Simpson, told FBC News that the matter was brought to their attention and an internal investigation was underway within the newspaper company to address the issue.

“They’ve assured me that they have taken it seriously and with urgency and are conducting their own investigations and the internal process to address the matter. They have a social media policy and they will deal with the matter that has been raised,” Mr Simpson said.

He emphasised that it was impossible to divorce what a journalist says on their social media account with the work that they do, especially when it comes to issues such as race.

“As a journalist, your words – what you write and what you say or the language that you use – carry weight and I think that’s an important aspect for them to be mindful of because you write for the general public,” he said.

“And if you say those things then it’s not a good reflection – not just of the media organisation that you are with but of the media industry as a whole.”

Fiji Times’ Editor, Fred Wesley, said: “Mr Raj appears to be using the Fiji Sun to attack The Fiji Times because we are asking him tough questions. On the allegations against The Fiji Times journalists, we are investigating. We are doing our job, we hope he is doing his.”

Screenshot 2019-10-25 at 9.12.28 AM

Edited by Naisa Koroi


Fijisun Ad Space

Get updates from the Fiji Sun, handpicked and delivered to your inbox.

By entering your email address you're giving us permission to send you news and offers. You can opt-out at any time.