[Pacific_media_watch] 6270 FIJI: Reaction to detention of alleged bloggers

Title – 6270 FIJI: Reaction to detention of alleged bloggers
Date – 25 May 2009
Byline – Michael Hartsell
Origin – Pacific Media Watch
Source – Global Voices, 25/05/09
Copyright – GV
Status – Unabridged
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By Michael Hartsell

SUVA (Global Voices/Pacific Media Watch): Global Voices previously
reported that Fiji police detained and seized the laptops of three
people who had been named as bloggers behind the anti-government site
Raw Fiji News.

The three lawyers, among others, had recently been named by the
pro-government site Real Fiji News. While police confirmed the
detentions and laptop seizures, a spokesman would not say why the three
men were hauled in. All three have been released, but no word as yet on
their laptops.

Regardless of the reasons behind the detentions – or the veracity of
the claims the men actually blog for Raw Fiji News – let's begin with
why Real Fiji News named names.

In its post that claims lawyer Richard Naidu allegedly blogs for the
anti-government site, Real Fiji News attacks the Raw Fiji News blog.

>>> They have destroyed lives of people who they call 'Coup
Apologists' they have lied about the state of the economy, they have
lied about business deals, lied about money gained under false
pretenses, lies about uprisings of Fijians, lied about the Military,
lied about the Government. It is so easy to hide behind a blog site and
spew out lie after lie. This site has KEPT YOU UPDATED WITH THE TRUTH,
and we have proven time and time again that Raw Fiji's only intention
is to incite violence and unrest in the country and all done at the
hands of some of our legal profession.

A reader called Boo Boo writing in Real Fiji News after the detentions
had been announced.

>>> What they thought was informative and intelligent has backfired not
only on themselves, but on the entire country in more ways than one.
Their opinions and comments have been read by many who would have loved
to have visited Fiji some day, but won't because they now view Fiji in
a negative light. These potential visitors will not come here now!
Thanks to these folks. The gaping hole in our economy that was once our
tourism industry is their legacy. This has affected thousands of hotel
workers and their families. Leave alone the world economic crisis,
these bloggers have done their bit for Fiji. Well done, bastards!

Fiji Girl says the government is barking up the wrong tree by detaining
the three men.

>>> So the illegal regime and Real Fiji News think that Richard Naidu,
Jon Apted and Tevita Fa are bloggers?
Talk about not being able to see one's own nose! Real Fiji News
especially should know by now that REAL bloggers, like yours truly, are
not the movers and shakers of the movement. Like the faceless drones
behind Real Fiji News, we are commentators, observers – voyeurs, if you
will – and, since the death of our media freedom, ersatz reporters.
People like Richard Naidu, Jon Apted, Tevita Fa, Dorsami Naidu,
Shamima Ali, Virisila Buadromo are too busy out there DOING the good
deeds to have the time or inclination to then write about them and
spend countless hours bitching online about the illegal regime. Like we
bloggers do. They have better ways to spend their time.
We bloggers have our duty – I like to think an important one – in
bringing down this illegal regime through channelling information,
fuelling support and keeping the debate alive. But, like the Judean
People's Front, we ain't necessarily where the action is.
It must have been quite a bitch-slap to the face after they hauled
in the real lawyers, accused of blogging, up to camp to find that
suddenly every blog site reported their detention.

TeeJay for a Free Fiji argues the detentions prove that bloggers are
rattling the regime.

>>> News that the Illegal Regime have hauled in, and since released,
two lawyers suspected of being behind the Raw Fiji News blog site,
indicates that the blogs are having an impact.

>>> Whatever the status of the involvement of Richard Naidu and Jon
Apted is irrelevant to the fact that the Illegal Regime will have NO
success in stopping bloggers.

To the brave and wonderful people inside Fiji who are blogging
away, may God bless you for your efforts in the curent climate within
the country. Keep it up, because it is working!! Even though a small
percentage of Fijians will see the blogs, the key is for those who do,
they need to pass on the information to as many people as possible.

Meanwhile, those of us outside Fiji are with you all the way,
thinking of you every day, right behind you, doing what we can to
assist, no matter how small that may be.

Raw Fiji News lets the police wonder if they had the wrong people.

>>> What does the Fiji military police know about technology?
If their computer experts think they're such gurus at tracking down
bloggers like us, then perhaps coming down to our side of the woods
will solve their problem.
But their problem is that they're all banned from travelling to our
turf cause they are coup aliens marked with "restricted from entering
our soil".
Sorry guys, Richard Naidu and Jon Apted are the wrong people!
Don't waste your time hauling people randomly or closing internet
cafes, etc, etc – we will continue to blog on telling it like it is!

From New Zealand, the blogger behind Fiji: The Way It Is, Was and Can
Be – previously critical of some of Fiji's anti-government blogs –
tells the government to let the bloggers keep writing.

>>> Justice needs to be seen to be done. Blanket clamp-downs convey
the wrong message, and deprive Government of the feedback, advice and
opinions it needs to achieve its longer-term goals. In today's Fiji,
unrestrained opposition and totally gagged opposition are both equally
unhealthy and equally dangerous.

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