Friday, February 2, 2018

Coups, globalisation and tough questions for Fiji's future

The General's Goose - three decades of Fiji "coup culture". And what now with the second
post-coup election due this year?
REVIEW: By David Robie of Café Pacific
Historian Dr Robbie Robertson ... challenges "misconceptions"
about the Bainimarama government and previous coups, and asks
fundamental questions about Fiji's future.


When Commodore (now rear admiral retired and an elected prime minister) Voreqe Bainimarama staged Fiji’s fourth “coup to end all coups” on 5 December 2006, it was widely misunderstood, misinterpreted and misrepresented by a legion of politicians, foreign affairs officials, journalists and even some historians.

A chorus of voices continually argued for the restoration of “democracy” – not only the flawed version of democracy that had persisted in various forms since independence from colonial Britain in 1970, but specifically the arguably illegal and unconstitutional government of merchant banker Laisenia Qarase that had been installed on the coattails of the third (attempted) coup in 2000.

Yet in spite of superficial appearances, Bainimarama’s 2006 coup contrasted sharply with its predecessors.

Bainimarama attempted to dodge the mistakes made by Sitiveni Rabuka after he carried out both of Fiji’s first two coups in 1987 while retaining the structures of power.

Instead, notes New Zealand historian Robbie Robertson who lived in Fiji for many years, Bainimarama “began to transform elements of Fiji: Taukei deference to tradition, the provision of golden eggs to sustain the old [chiefly] elite, the power enjoyed by the media and judiciary, rural neglect and infrastructural inertia” (p. 314). But that wasn’t all.

Friday, January 26, 2018

UN critics join global outrage over Duterte’s Rappler ‘free press’ attack


Rappler’s CEO and executive editor Maria Ressa says that the Philippine government spends a lot of effort to turn journalism into a crime which shouldn’t be the case. Video: Rappler


By David Robie from Asia Pacific Report

Three United Nations special rapporteurs have added their voice to the global protests this week over the President Rodrigo Durterte government bureaucracy’s attack on the independent online news website Rappler and a free press in the Philippines.

Rappler has been the latest media target for the administration’s wrath over a tenacious public interest watchdog that has been relentless in its coverage of the republic’s so-called “war on drugs” and state disinformation.

Some media freedom advocates claim that the Philippines is facing its worst free expression and security crisis since the Marcos dictatorship, with The New York Times denouncing the “ruthlessness” and “viciousness” of Duterte’s disdain for democracy.

The death toll in the extrajudicial spate of killings range between 3993 (official) and more than 12,000 since Duterte took office on June 30, 2016, according to Human Rights Watch.

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