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By Shital Ram
USP Journalism Student
SUVA: Fiji Television journalist Riyaz Sayed-Khaiyum believes ousted
Prime Minister Mahendra Chaudhry lost the "propaganda war" over the
recent Fiji political crisis, saying the deposed Labour Party-led
coalition government failed to communicate its policies to the public.
Speaking to journalism students at the University of the South Pacific
last night, Sayed-Khaiyum said Chaudhry had the media "on the backfoot"
from day one.
" It was a propaganda war between those trying to destabilise the
government and the coalition government. And the coalition government
lost the war because those trying to oust the government made more
effective use of their propaganda."
Sayed-Khaiyum says the coalition government knew about the
misrepresentations over indigenous land but it did not push strongly
enough to have its side of the story heard.
The 1997 constitution contained safeguards over land and indigenous
Fijian rights but this was not sufficiently understood by grassroots
He said education was the key to the future in Fiji.
Better understanding by the people of their rights and the
constitutional and democratic system of government would pave the way
for better understanding between people.
"I don't believe there is a big gap between the two major communities,"
he said. "Better education will help raise the understanding."
He expressed concern at how some people who openly supported rebel
leader George Speight at the parliamentary complex after the May 19
takeover and the following spate of crimes were still freely walking the
streets of Suva.
"Why are only George and his other guys on Nukulau? Why haven't charges
being laid and investigations being carried out on the involvement of
some other people implicated in the coup?" said Sayed-Khaiyum.
He reminded the media that it had a duty to push for those people to be
Sayed-Khaiyum was speaking at a journalism research workshop which
featured the ABC Four Corners documentary "Cyclone George" by top
Australian investigative journalism Chris Masters.
Title -- 2936 FIJI: Deposed government lost 'propaganda war', says TV
Date -- 30 August 2000
Byline -- None
Origin -- Pacific Media Watch
Source -- USP Journalism Programme, 30/8/00
Copyright -- USP Journalism Programme
Status -- Unabridged
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