NEWS

Fiji Times, Fiji TV Put in Spotlight

“These reporters not only put themselves at risk, due to this being a highly-transmissible virus that means that their family members and the country at large were put at-risk as well.
23 Apr 2021 10:02
Fiji Times, Fiji TV Put in Spotlight
Permanent Secretary for Health Dr James Fong at the press conference Photo: Ronald Kumar

Permanent Secretary for Health and Medical Services Dr James Fong yesterday slammed the irresponsible behaviour of reporters from The Fiji Times and Fiji Television Limited.

The journalists had reported from the now contained Wainitarawau Settlement on Wednesday, following health officials into the high-risk area, and speaking to its residents.

“Before we could make the medical assessment that would close off the area, these reporters were in the soon-to-be-screening-zone, speaking with people on camera and filming people’s homes,” Dr Fong said.

“These reporters not only put themselves at risk, due to this being a highly-transmissible virus that means that their family members and the country at large were put at-risk as well.

“What these reporters have done was wrong. Morally and ethically it was wrong.

“This isn’t a reality television show, we are dealing with an outbreak of a very deadly virus. Anyone who spends their time shoving cameras, recorders, or mics in the faces of potential COVID patients could end up becoming a COVID patient themselves, and strain the resources of the ministry even further.”

He urged media organisations to respect the work carried out by health officials and wait for official updates, once the facts were clearly established.

He cautioned the journalists at the press conference not to be reckless with their wellbeing or be rash in reporting because lives depended on their responsibility.

Dr Fong said the ministry had seen a troubling shift towards sensationalism from some media outlets over the past few weeks.

“I hope to see our own precautionary steps shared more widely, particularly by the media. Last year, the media, for the most part, were our ally in our COVID-containment strategy,” he said.

“We saw facts-based reporting that helped get Fijians good information, and it was a big reason why we succeeded in containing our outbreak.”

Emails sent to Fiji TV and The Fiji Times seeking comments remain unanswered when this edition went to press.

Feedback:  inoke.rabonu@fijisun.com.fj

 

 

 



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