NEWS

‘Fiji Times Reporting Selective’

International IDEA has since come out and said their “State of Democracy in Asia and the Pacific” report did not say the role of the military in addressing the pandemic in Fiji contributed to democratic fragility.
26 Nov 2021 10:58
‘Fiji Times Reporting Selective’
The Fiji Times front page on the 24th of November,2021 about the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA) Report

The International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA) says The Fiji Times reporting was selective reporting and erroneous.

The newspaper reported, “The role of the military during the COVID-19 pandemic in Fiji ‘explains the continuing democratic fragility’ in the country, saying the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA).”

International IDEA has since come out and said their “State of Democracy in Asia and the Pacific” report did not say the role of the military in addressing the pandemic in Fiji contributed to democratic fragility.

“In fact, we have not observed any concerns in the military’s involvement in the pandemic response as they acted under the leadership of the Ministry of Health,” the statement said.

“This is evidenced by the lack of “concerning developments” in Fiji noted by International IDEA’s Global Monitor of COVID-19’s Impact on Democracy and Human Rights.

“In mentioning Fiji, the Report merely pointed out to the history of military involvement in politics since 1975. During that period, Fiji has moved between democracy, hybrid and authoritarian regimes several times.

“That is a historical fact. We observe that active political role played by the military in the countries mentioned has served to inhibit both popular control and political equality, which are critical characteristics of democracy, hence the fragility.

“Again, the report does not contend that the Fijian military is currently active in politics, but rather pointing out that it is historically the case.”

The statement also stated that it should be noted that based on International IDEA’s Global State of Democracy Indices data, Fiji was one of a few countries in the world that has advanced towards democracy between 2015 and 2020.

It stated that Fiji had been categorised as ‘democracy’ since 2015.

“It is currently described as ‘weak’ democracy mainly due to low scores on Participatory Engagement,” the statement said.

“Fiji is also scoring low on ‘Social Rights and Equality’ measuring gender equality, social group equality and basic welfare.

“In contrast, Fiji is scoring above world average on civil society participation and freedom of religion.

“International IDEA hereby reiterates that it did not make any finding that the military in Fiji played a key role, if any at all, in Fiji’s management of its COVID-19 outbreaks and did not make any conclusions to that effect.

“We strongly urge media organisations to correctly report on our publications and not to engage in selective reporting, which do not accurately relay the essence of our key findings or main conclusions.”

Questions sent to the Fiji Times’ editor-in-chief Fred Wesley remained unanswered when this edition went to press.

 

December Summit

Meanwhile Fiji has been invited by American President Joe Biden to the 2021 December Summit for Democracy.

On December 9-10, 2021, President Biden will host a virtual summit for leaders from government, civil society, and the private sector. The summit will focus on challenges and opportunities facing democracies and will provide a platform for leaders to announce both individual and collective commitments, reforms, and initiatives to defend democracy and human rights at home and abroad.

 



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