Bartlett's Blog

Andrew Bartlett has been active in politics for over 20 years, including as a Queensland Senator from 1997-2008. This blog started in 2004 and reflects his own views, independent of any political party or organisation.

Blogs try to counter censorship in Fiji

In May 2007, months after Fiji had suffered its latest coup, I noted reports that the military was trying to prevent access to anti-government blogs.

Now the transition to a military dictatorship is complete, the censorship crackdown on the local media has been redoubled, leaving local blogs and other websites as a crucial source of uncensored news from Fiji.  I’ve done a post on the Crikey website with more details.

Advertisement

11 Comments, Comment or Ping

  1. Thanks for the links to Fiji blogs. Well worth reading.

  2. “The renewed censorship will mean blogs and other sources of online information will probably become the main way to access uncensored information out of Fiji.”

    Hmmm – just like Australia!!!

  3. TRS

    The blogs have never really had to try to counter censorship as it’s very nature has allowed bloggers to post without any degree of external influence. Most blog sites contain posts written by anonymouse bloggers.

    What is important to note are the truth claims of many bloggers. Whilst the blog posts at the moment seem to carry a lot more information then what is available from traditional media outlets, we have to very careful in absorbing what it’s contents are.

    Unlike tradtional media, the stories contained in the blog posts have not been subjected to normal journalistic standards nor have they been vetted properly.

    In any case, the only option for any coup related news for many Fijians right now are the blogs sites. Some news is better then nothing.

  4. “normal journalistic standards”?????

    The UK’s biggest selling paper:

    “They went on to accuse the American film producer, Steve Bing, of hiring private investigators to destroy the reputation of his former lover, Liz Hurley (the ‘Mail’ admitted the story was untrue and paid damages); the actress Nicole Kidman of having an affair with her co-star, Jude Law, during the filming of ‘Cold Mountain’ (the ‘Mail’ admitted the story was untrue and paid damages); the actress Diana Rigg of hating men and giving up her career (after she complained, the ‘Mail’ ran a second article along similar lines before admitting the story was untrue and paying damages); the actor Rowan Atkinson of needing five weeks’ treatment in a clinic for depression (the ‘Mail’ admitted the story was untrue and paid damages); the actor Sir Michael Caine of having a facelift (the ‘Mail’ admitted the story was untrue and paid money to a charity of Sir Michhael’s choice); the actress Sharon Stone of leaving her four-year-old son alone in her car while she dined out in a restaurant (the ‘Mail’ admitted the story was untrue and paid damages); the singer Sir Elton John of banning guests at a charity function from talking to him (the ‘Mail’ admitted the story was untrue and paid damages); the TV presenter Noel Edmonds of behaving unprofessionally and unreasonably over the course of his career (the ‘Mail’ admitted the story was untrue, paid damages and agreed to serialise Edmonds’ new book); one of their own journalists, Glenys Roberts, of conducting a vendetta against a restaurant near her home (the ‘Mail’ admitted the story was untrue and paid damages); the actor Hugh Grant of destroying his relationship with Jemima Khan by flirting with other women (the ‘Mail’ admitted the story was untrue and paid damages to Marie Curie Cancer Care)…”

    From “Flat Earth News” by Nick Davies, p368.

  5. Is it only me but that crikey link doesn’t work?

  6. I just tried the Crikey link and it worked OK for me Guido, so not sure what the problem might be.

  7. Guido

    I am at a different computer and it works here. May be a ‘firewall’ thingo.

    Thanks Andrew.

  8. lorikeet

    Megan:

    Yes, that sounds like the “normal journalistic standards” – anything to get a story – anything to sell more papers.

  9. Peter Firkin

    I agree that the blog information coming out of Fiji is suspect. I run a blog called Fijitoday and post what I see on a daily basis and information from friends emailed to me. There is no chance to ask the military for an explanation as that would result in a visit to Queen Elizabeth Base and questioning if not violence. It is a self inflicted wound on the part of Frank and Co as the mainstream media in Fiji was relativly unbiased compared to reporting in NZ or Australia. Clamping down and muzzling them left a vacuum that we are trying our best to fill. We don’t claim to get it right all the time but are trying to be the balance to the now pro government censored papers.

  10. Fiji Blogger.

    @TRS.
    Find your comments both pompous & ill informed – you obviously have no ides whatsoever whats going on or what’s at stake – main difficulty is convincing people such as yourself + AUS authorities (DFAT ONA & their political masters) that they are dealing with an inept military regime headed by a delusional dictator. Suggest you google regimes official www
    real fiji news & post a derogatory comment? Watch the virus’s & Trogans magicly appear? People like you really should get out more.

  1. fiji - Apr 13th, 2009

Reply to “Blogs try to counter censorship in Fiji”

Mini Posts

  • Rhetoric vs reality

    I’ve had a break from writing for a variety of reasons, but the reckless approach the new Queensland government is taking to their spending decisions – and the straightout nonsensicality of some of their claims – roused me enough to pen a piece for New Matilda. Time will tell whether the Newman government will start trying to ensure their statements have some connection with reality – I suggest the way they respond next year to the findings of the inquiry into child safety which they’ve established will be a significant test.

  • End of LP the end of a blogging era

    Back in October, I wrote here about the decline or re-defining of blogs, at least in the Australian political arena.  The relatively few posts I’ve done on this blog since then shows how much less useful I find it to do my own blog than I used to, and as I mentioned back then, a big reason why I don’t read many of the blogs I used to is because the valuable links to many interesting stories, ideas and pieces of information can be found more easily through Twitter or Facebook, sometimes with comment threads which are also at least as good.

    The recent announcement by the Larvatus Prodeo blog that they are ceasing to operate is quite a significant one. I don’t suggest it means the end of independent commentary online – as the last post on LP indicates, many of those involved will continue to do similar things in other ways. But, whilst not quite the end of an era, it is a significant signpost in the evolution of independent political blogs.

    (I know my headline to this post does say it’s the end of an era –  was going to say it’s the end of a blogging phase, which is probably more accurate but frankly makes a pretty lame looking headline)

    http://larvatusprodeo.net/archives/2012/04/10/larvatus-prodeos-last-post/
  • A final comment on Labor’s leadership laments

    Fundamentally, I don’t greatly care about the outcome of Labor’s leadership travails. As my previous post indicates, the bigger issue is that the ALP is being fundamentally damaged by the toxicity of this brawl, and the fact that the brawl is happening in this way is a sign of some much greater problems within Labor. Whatever the immediate outcome, I think those problems are likely to continue.  The outcome of the leadership contest (including the size of what will surely be a Gillard victory) will shape how those problems play out, but they will still be there.

    Not surprisingly, I see this as presenting an opportunity for the Greens to build some support, but more importantly it presets extra responsibility and obligation for the Greens to be a stronger counter to what is a seriously reactionary Coalition.

    But seeing we’re all pundits now, and despite having little inside knowledge, my prediction is that there will be no ‘third candidate’ in tomorrow’s leadership ballot.  Julia Gillard will win comfortably. The instability will not disappear. It’s quite possible there will be another leadership ballot before the election but Kevin Rudd will not become leader then either. No matter how good Kevin Rudd looks in the polls, that polling lead would disappear very quickly if he was back in the PM’s job.

  • The Ups & Downs of Ups & Downs – interview with Greg Atkinson

    I’ve mentioned before my liking for the 80s Brisbane band Ups and Downs. I got a chance to interview their lead singer Greg Atkinson on 4ZzZ FM a few weeks ago. They’ve released a compilation CD of 20 of their best tunes and played a gig in Brisbane earlier this month to promote and celebrate it.

    It was a fairly long interview, but I found it very interesting to hear the views of someone who has been active in the independent sphere of the music industry for so long about what has changed and what is the same.

    You can listen to the interview at this link.

  • Speeches to refugee rally + SIEV-X exhibition

    A local activist helpfully recorded speeches given by myself and by Julian Burnside at a refugee rights rally held in Brisbane last Saturday.  You can listen to them here and here. The rally was held to mark the tenth anniversary of the sinking of the SIEV-X.  353 refugees drowned when that refugee boat sank on the way to Australia on 19 October 2001.  There is a beautiful exhibition at The Studio on the ground level at the State Library of Qld this week, commemorating that anniversary. It finishes this weekend – I strongly recommend you try to get along for a look if you have a chance. The Library also has a screening of the documentary Hope on Friday October 28 – this film tell the story of Amal Basry, one of the few survivors of that tragedy.