NEWS

How To Report Better: Journalists Get A Timely Lesson From The A-G

Twenty two journalists got a Budget reporting lesson Saturday – from the man who this Friday delivers the national Budget. Among key points Attorney-General and Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum
12 Jul 2021 13:06
How To Report Better: Journalists Get A Timely Lesson From The A-G
Attorney-General and Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum addressing participants at the virtual budget training. Photo: Fijian Government

Twenty two journalists got a Budget reporting lesson Saturday – from the man who this Friday delivers the national Budget.

Among key points Attorney-General and Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum made at a Fijian Media Association virtual workshop on Budget Reporting:

  • ONE: “It’s unfortunate that in Fiji, debt is seen simply as a number and the general perception is that debt is bad! But you need to go deeper; what is the debt being used for? How is the debt being financed, who are the financiers?

“No media organisation in Fiji does any in-depth analysis on the overall debt portfolio – All of us are just focused on the nominal debt value and of course many politicise this.”

  • TWO: He suggested that news media organisations ask multilateral institutions like the World Bank, Asian Development Bank and Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank about their confidence. Can the Fijian Government pay the debt, the conditions of the borrowings and Government reforms as part of the budget support loans?
  • THREE: In relation to Government expenditure, he said unfortunately the focus is always whether it has increased or decreased. But reporting should be done on the intent and impact of the expenditures.

“You need to ask the right questions to the right people,” he said.

“Sometimes allocations may be small but impact may be large. Hardly anyone has reported on the impact on the ground. Budget reporting by the media is just for a few days after the announcement.

“When commentators talk about cutting expenditures nobody asks what the impact on the people is.”

KEY ASPECTS

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum revealed the key aspects of the upcoming national budget which will focus on macro-fiscal and economic stability, long term plans, pre-positioning ourselves and ensuring that Fiji is not left behind.

While highlighting easy areas of politicisation such as Budget, Economy and Debt, he encouraged journalists to carry out their own analysis and to obtain opinions from truly independent sources.

“It’s unfortunate that in Fiji, debt is seen simply as a number and the general perception is that debt is bad! But you need to go deeper; what is the debt being used for? How is the debt being financed, who are the financiers?” Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said.

The workshop was run by the Fijian Media Association and supported by the Australian Pacific Media Assistance Scheme (PACMAS). It was also attended by SODELPA Party Leader Viliame Gavoka and National Federation Party Leader Biman Prasad.

They shared their views on the importance of the media in amplifying the voice of the Opposition when questioning the Government and holding them accountable.

They suggested that more reporting be done on their views.

The training continues on Saturday where a representative from the Fiji Revenue and Customs Service will be speaking to participants.

The programme is facilitated by Elenoa Baselala, a veteran journalist now Communications Consultant – Fiji, with the International Finance Corporation, part of the World Bank Group.

TAKING PART

Journalists taking part are:

Fijian Broadcasting Corporation – Jeshu Lal, Kreetika Kumar, Apenisa Waqairadovu and Indra Singh,

Fiji Live – Nacanieli Tuilevuka, Romeka Romena and Reginald Tui,

Fiji Sun – Fonua Talei, Wati Talebula-Nuku, Inoke Rabonu, Ashna Kumar and Rosi Doviverata,

Fiji TV – Stella Taoi and Eparama Warua,

Mai TV – Lavenia Vuadreu, Josefa Kotobalavu and Stanley Simpson,

Fiji Times – Luke Nacei and Abishek Chand.

Edited by Selita Rabuku

Feedback: fonua.talei@fijisun.com.fj



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