Monday, October 15, 2007

Teleni’s serious breaches



ON 10/07/07, I wrote a letter titled ‘What are you worth Teleni?’ and in that letter I stated, ‘…History will reveal whether Teleni usurped the constitutional office of Commissioner of Police to protect Bainimarama, himself and all those implicated in the coup or whether he obtained it on merit and faithfully discharged his duties pursuant to the Police Act [Cap 85]?’

Since his appointment as Commissioner of Police, Teleni has committed three major breaches, exposing his unsuitability for the position.

Firstly, I refer to the Verebasaga & Rabaka files, which to date remain shelved.
The more recent unlawful death of Tevita Malasebe has been called for mention twice in the Magistrate’s Court, but this comes as no surprise when you note, that all suspects are police officers.

Secondly, I refer to his re-negotiated Contract of Employment, after only a few months in his new job as Commissioner of Police.

I recall Bainimarama’s promise after the December 5, 2006 coup that no military officer would personally gain from this it. Yet the very opposite has occurred.

It would be interesting to find out, whether Teleni’s employment contract contained a probationary period clause because if it did, then it would have been either for three or six months.

If such a condition existed in his contract, then Teleni had no legal right whatsoever to re-negotiate his contract whilst on probation and the Constitutional Offices Commission erred in approving the same.

However, even if there was no such condition in his contract, the mere fact he hadn’t sufficient time to prove his competence in his position, should have morally barred him from even contemplating a further salary raise.

Thirdly, this latest debacle in trying to influence the composition of the High Court by stacking it with coup sympathisers, when dealing with military officers is so absurd, that it boggles the mind.

Yet, Teleni still fails to grasp the serious implications of his trying to pervert the course of justice.

As a matter of fact, he sees nothing wrong with his actions and hits back by saying that Justice Winter and Justice Jitoko should be investigated for not supporting the December 5, 2006 coup!

One can only wonder at the selection criteria the Constitutional Offices Commission relied upon, when it saw fit to select him over a much more qualified Romanu Tikotikoca.

He should resign forthwith because he has become a liability and the longer he remains in office, the greater the detriment to the Fiji Police Force and the people of Fiji.

The answer to the question I had posed back in July is already becoming crystal clear within a very short time of his appointed Police Commissioner and that is Teleni’s character & honour has been weighed and tested and the scales of justice have found him wanting.

Tui Savu.
Solomon Islands.

Military responsible for political blogs -

A SENIOR local journalist believes the military is partly responsible for the number of political blogs that mushroomed after the December 5, 2006 coup.

Sophie Foster, a former deputy editor of The Fiji Times, said blogs flourished because of the restrictions the military placed on dissenting opinions in the mainstream media and across the nation in general.

The University of the South Pacific postgraduate student in Pacific Media Studies said that while some blog content was racist, defamatory, provocative and irresponsible, the argument for a free responsible press was also strengthened as an option worth maintaining in any society.

Her article, entitled, “Who let the blogs out? Media and free speech in post-coup Fiji”, is published in the latest Pacific Journalism Review.

The edition has been produced jointly by the USP journalism programme and Auckland University of Technology Pacific Media Centre.

Foster said blogs came into their own in a climate where sources of information were running dry, mainstream media were under fire and the military was not averse to “repatriotising” outspoken critics.

She said: “Blogs presented a platform through which anti-takeover views could be aired publicly, anonymously and without restriction.

“In effect, by cracking down on media and freedom of expression, the military had unleashed the blogs - and its subsequent public relations nightmare was worse than anything that could have been delivered under a fully functioning free press.”

This article uses materials which were gathered using qualitative research methods to. The research was aimed at gauging changes in the local media environment as a result of the country’s fourth coup.

The report, based on interviews with media executives and a survey of working journalists, assesses the impact of military repression of dissenting views in the press, the subsequent rise in anonymous political blogs and the type of content delivered.

Foster’s research found newsroom managers were very aware the media environment was not a free one and staff needed extra protection.

Among crucial measures taken during the period were attempts to reduce the unpredictability of the military’s response to criticism.

Editors from all six organisations said they received phone calls from soldiers over any anti-military stories they published. However the Fiji newsroom survey she conducted earlier found most of these had ceased by May 3.

While the blogs were initially welcomed, Fiji Sun publisher, Russell Hunter, said blogs and journalism did not have common ideals.

“The basic ideals of journalism are accuracy and credibility. You achieve that by being accountable to your readership. Blogs are not accountable to their readership because nobody knows who they are,” said Hunter.

Fiji Media Council chairman Daryl Tarte, acknowledged blogs were a growing phenomenon the mainstream Fiji media would eventually have to deal with but refused to give anonymous blogs any credibility:

“Blogs that are properly signed and sourced probably have got a place in journalism,” he said.

Foster concluded the rise of blogs showed the press was not the only champion of freedom of expression in the digital age.

When contacted yesterday military spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Mosese Tikoitoga refused to comment saying Sunday was his day-off.

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