#header-inner img {margin: 0 auto !important; #header-inner {text-align: Center ;} Fiji Coupfourpointfive

Saturday, December 20, 2014

More egg on Khaiyum's face after sacked TV executive confirms they were 'sacrificed'

One of the senior executives sacked from Fiji TV over the debacle of the Rugby Sevens screening rights has confirmed to media they were sacrificed by the board.

Tanya Waqanika told Pacific Beat yesterday she and chief executive Tevita Gonelevu were 'let go' after pressure from the Minister of Communications, Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum.

The sackings follow a decision by World Rugby to pull the plug on the screening of the Dubai Sevens after Khaiyum introduced a decree that took the rights off Fiji TV and gave it instead to FBC.

International publicity and condemnation followed with Fiji and Khaiyum publicly embarrassed.

In the interview with Pacific Beat, Waqanika rejected the suggestion the decision to sack her and Gonolevu was a unanimous one.

"I don't think its the Government," she said.

"It's one particular minister ...... Minister of Communication whose  blatantly come out and made accusations and management at Fiji TV."

Waqanika and Gonelevu were told by the board on Tuesday they had lost their jobs but it took media reports to confirm the reason: the Fijian Holdings Ltd board had done it to secure a 12 year licence.

The station had until now been forced to operate on a six month licence after a fall out with  Khaiyum several years ago.

Waqanika told Pacific Beat the sacking was unjustified.

"I've done nothing wrong, worked with integrity and righteousness and always followed what the board told and worked in the interest of shareholders.

"......We were made a sacrificial lamb."

Fiji TV has been targeted by Khaiyum because it's the biggest rival to FBC, which is run by his brother Riyaz Sayed Khaiyum.

If anyone is still in doubt, the sackings show while Fiji considers it has a democratically elected government, this is a Christmas fantasy. 

The ways and the self-interests of the regime and Khaiyum are still at play.

To give them their due the Opposition is doing its job.

The Opposition Whip Ratu Isoa Tikoca for example says Voreqe Bainimarama must remove Khaiyum as Minister of Communications or instruct Khaiyum to sack his brother as CEO of FBC.

He says the current situation is the 'mother of all conflicts' and cannot be allowed to continue.

Tikoca also reminded everyone that former prime minister Laisenia Qarase had been sent to jail for 12 months for an alleged conflict of interest that had occurred nearly 20 years ago and yet a 'glaring and continuing conflict of interest with severe financial consequences' goes unpunished.

Opposition MP Biman Prasad says Waqanika and Gonelevu should be reinstated and inquiry held.

Tanya Waqanika has shared these facts about Fiji TV:

DID YOU KNOW- Fiji TV is the name
of the company. No one is employed by Fiji One or Sky Pacific.

How many TV Stations does Fiji TV have?

Two (2) TV stations (Fiji One and Sky Pacific)-

a) Fiji One (Free to air - viewers can watch free via a terrestrial signal (antenna) or a digital signal (Sky Pacific).

b) Sky Pacific transmits on a digital platform and it has 25 channels (inclusive of Fiji One channel on its Sky PAC platform).

FBC and Mai TV only transmits on a terrestrial signal and both only have 1 TV station with 1 channel each. Free to air means - free to the viewers.

"Coverage"- actual physical area/s in Fiji that can receive a TV signal. "Viewership" means what each actual household is watching on their TV sets. A vital difference between the 2 is that you can change your viewership by changing the channel on your TV set.

Coverage can only be changed by adding another TV transmitter or satellite signal to increase the physical area in Fiji that can receive a TV signal. Basically, so long as the public has coverage, than viewership can be changed by pressing a button a TV set.

Fiji TV has 85% coverage of Fiji via a terrestrial signal (all those towers you see on the hilltops where all Telcos (FBC, Mai TV, Digicel, cfl, visa phone,etcetera). FTV has 12 transmitter towers - 9 on Viti Levu, 1 Malake (Ra), 1 (Delaikoro - Labasa) & 1 (Vunisea, Kadavu). FBC has 7 transmitter towers and Mai TV has about 3.
Terrestrial - you catch the signal with an Antenna.
Digital signal- only SKY Pacific.

None of these 3 TV broadcasters have transmitter towers in Rotuma, Lau Group, Yasawa Group, Lomaiviti Group, Beqa and some other remote areas of Fiji. eg- FTV's transmitter tower in Vunisea can only be seen the areas close to Vunisea. For those in kadavu(areas of Nakasaleka, Ono, etc- they cannot view Fiji One on a terrestrial signal. Same as well for those in Vanua Levu- only those close to Delaikoro can receive the terrestrial signal.

How then does one in Savusavu, Taveuni, Rotuma, other parts of Kadavu, Lomaiviti Grp, Lau, etc view Fiji One- purchase a Sky Pacific and receive the signal on a digital platform. Normal price for Sky is $99.00.

Roadshow prices were $50 & $70 respectively.- total equipment inclusive of installation costs. Sky Pacific prices are much cheaper than buying an antenna to view any of the 3 TV broadcasters( antenna prices range between $80-$120) and this is not inclusive of installation costs if done by professionals. The rural and remote dwellers purchase SKY and receive a crystal clear digital signal and watch Fiji One (only) for FREE.

They opt not to take up the sky pacific remaining 24 channels and pay the monthly fee of $49 (approx $1.63 per day to watch 25 channels). We has visitors from upper Naitasiri(only 20mins) from Monasavu. None watch the 3 TV stations on a terrestrial platform- cannot catch. But, a handful have sky pacific and boy do they watch only Fiji One. Certainly makes their day when they see our celebrities (Breakfast Show hosts, Music Masti host, Chef Lance Seeto, etc) walking through the building. They know who they are because they watch Fiji One on a digital platform.

What is SKY PACIFIC's coverage - 100% of Fiji and 12 other Pacific Island countries Tonga, Samoa, American Samoa, PNG (population of 7.6m- covers the entire country and no other broadcaster in PNG delivers the same), Vanuatu, New Caledonia, Cook Islands, Niue, Kiribati, Tuvalu, Nauru, Tahiti and French Polynesia, Tokelau. That's why Fiji One presenters will always acknowledge its Pacific viewers/communities during the Coke Games, Mana Choral Fest, News, Breakfast Show, etc because they are watching LIVE on their time Zones all the sky PAC programs and Fiji one channel as well. Sky PAC is in 12 Pacific Island leaders homes. When we have visitors from the Pacific Islands visiting Fiji TV - their faces lit up when they seethe Breakfast Show hosts- Mavis Gaunavou and Taitusi and also the rest of Fiji TV celebrities.

How big is Sky Pac's coverage- In fact, Sky Pac's signal goes up to Indonesia, parts of Aust, NZ, Parts of China), Etc. There are about 3-4 Sky Pacific decoders in our Fiji diplomats residences and office in Beijing and Shangai and they watch all 25 channels on Sky PAC. All the Pay per view local rugby games- they paid and were watching. In fact, it would be strategic for our Embassies where Sky Pacific signal reaches to have Sky PAC in the embassy. So when investors want to know what Fiji is all about- show them Fiji One and Pacific Channel(channel on Sky PAC). They will know our country through the 55% minimum local programs produced and broadcast by Fiji TV(Noda Gauna, sigi Drigi, Talk Business, News, Total Sports, Taste of Paradise, Breakfast Show and many more. Fiji TV produces around 50 local Programs per annum (not including local programs from SPC,etc). It's competitors cannot even produce 1/3 of what Fiji TV does.

Fiji TV is NOT just Fiji's No 1 broadcaster- it is the biggest and leading Pacific Broadcaster in the Pacific(No 1) - became No 1 in the Pacific when Sky PAC was launched. Not even Australia and NZ broadcasters have the coverage that Sky PAC has.

"The difference is certainly clear now"

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Sydney siege invokes memory of Fiji's 2000 hostage situation

The 17 hour in Sydney has ended with the death of three people, one of them the hostage taker - Mon
A casualty from the Martin Place siege
Manis or Sheik Haron as he was known.

The deaths came after five of the hostages made a break from the Lindt Chocolate Cafe just after 2am this morning, with armed police storming the cafe and engaging in shooting with the Haron.

It's unclear how the hostages were killed but Australian police said a short time ago one died at the scene and the other in hospital.

Many details about Sheik Haron also remain unclear but media suggest he was a 'lone nutcase' rather than the 'lone wolf' authorities feared.

Media reports say the 50 year old Iranian was on bail and had been serving jail time for the murder of
Hostages made to hold up Shahada flag
his wife; he had also been charged with indecent assault on several women.

The hostage situation began at 9.45am yesterday morning at the popular cafe in Martin Place and there was widespread fear the gunman was linked to the militant group ISIS.

The flag used by Mon Manis fuelled the fear of a terrorist attack. The flag is not that used by ISIS but is known to be used by jihadists.

Media reports this morning say the hostage-taker had demanded the delivery of an ISIS flag and a conversation with Australian prime minister, Tony Abbott. 

Debate in Australia this morning continues to focus on whether Mon Mani was a terrorist attack or not.

The siege made world headlines, especially with Australia on high alert for a terrorist attack
Shahada flag
following threats from Isis.

In Fiji yesterday, Fiji's Opposition recalled the country's hostage situation of 2000 when George Speight took Mahendra Chaudhry and his Cabinet hostage in Parliament.

Opposition Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs, Ratu Isoa Tikoca, said in a statement that the Sydney siege is a clear warning to the region that no country is immune from terrorism.

Ratu Isoa urged Fiji citizens to pray for the safe release of those held hostage, and a speedy end to the crisis.
He said Fiji had had its own hostage situation in 2000 where citizens were subjected to armed intervention in national affairs four times.'

"That an act of terrorism has occurred in one of the two leading democracies in our region is a stark reminder of just how vulnerable we all are to those determined to unleash violence on a society in pursuit of their extremist goals."

Links to coverage


Thursday, December 11, 2014

Fiji Parliament debate rugby

Whether the televising of sevens rugby should stay with Fiji TV was debated in Parliament yesterday.

Initially Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum tried to dismiss the debate by showing off his 'legal skills' saying the Opposition did not follow proper procedures.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Khaiyum greed stuffs it up for rugby fans

We've lost the rights to live coverage but don't worry - we've got FBC News and Bati Tanoa for you.

An unfair exchange and goes nowhere to appeasing Rugby fans who missed out on the live coverage of the Sevens from Dubai this weekend, but, hey, that's the Khaiyum's for you.

Thousands of fans went without rugby on Saturday night thanks to Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum's Machiavellian plan to take the steal broadcast rights of Fiji TV and to get FBC in on the act via the Television (Cross Carriage of Designated Events) decree.

World Rugby has now refused to recognise FBC as having
the rights to broadcast, saying its contract was with Fiji TV, leaving egg on Khaiyum and rugby fanatic Frank Bainimarama's face.

Khaiyum is trying to 'sort it out' insisting the decree was justified because it was aimed at ensuring state TV had access to matters of 'national importance.'

What a thinly veiled excuse for marginalising Fiji TV to build up FBC, which is run by his brother Riyaz Sayed Khaiyum.

Riyaz Sayed Khaiyum has now announced FBC is set to
make 14 locally made programmes (including Bati Tanoa, Aaani, Speak Your Mind and FBC News) to Fijians outside of the country via live streaming.

He's boasted the deal with Fiji Telecom is a 'world first', claiming FBC was chosen by TFL ahead of other networks because of the 'wonderful work' it's doing.

Live streaming off locally made programmes doesn't make up for losing live TV coverage to international rugby and fans shouldn't put up with the charade.

It's the first time World Rugby has made such a definitive stand on Fiji and we hope it stands firm.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Solid win for Kepa, Prasad and team

Prasad: this round to him
Good victory: the attempts by Fiji First to have its finger in the pie again have been foiled by
the Opposition standing its ground.

The Public Accounts Committee can now go ahead and do its job - dig into the Auditor's Report 2007 to 2013 with gusto - with National Federation Party MP, Biman Prasad, staying on as chair.

Auditor's report: Time for open information.
Prasad's nomination was challenged by three Fiji First MPs but they've been unable to shake him, thanks to the Opposition sticking together, with Aseri Radrodro, backing the decision instead of getting a big head and fighting the hierarchy.

As Biman Prasad himself has said, there is no conflict of interest: the committee hasn't even started work and his comments were about process, not specific outcomes.

The committee meets properly on December 15 with Opposition leader Ro Teimumu Kepa urging everyone to work diligently and to remember the people will be watching.

For more on the budget see Wadan Narsey's:
The 2015 Budget: the Good, the Bad, the Ugly, and the Deceptive http://bit.ly/1tqS7ja

Monday, November 24, 2014

Budget reveals high debt but promises economic growth of 4.2%

Fiji First released its 2014 budget on Friday.

As expected the budget is full of promises of developments and freebies.

But with debt at a record high, where will the money come from?

The full budget can be viewed here -http://bit.ly/11P6h7j

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Nod from China and India - but at what price?

Big powers swarm Suva: what will be the implications?
Are we now heading towards an open door policy for Indians - just as we've been promised visas on arrival there?

And is this what we want?

Fiji has signed three MOU’s with India’s prime minister Narendra Modi but another 15 are supposed to be in the pipeworks.

The MOU’s allow Fiji to exchange land for a new chancery building in New Delhi, Fijian diplomats to be trained and for funding for an electricity and cogeneration plant.

“This is only the beginning,” we’re told. Beginning of what?

Fiji is already in debt to China: are we dabbling in the same bad medicine with India?

Australia has just signed a free trade deal with China and the labor movement there is already worried at the waiving of visas to allow skilled Chinese workers to be brought in to fill labour shortages on huge infrastructure deals.

Aussie jobs are already being outsourced to India.  Australia is a bigger country with a stronger economy - if sections are nervy about the price they're paying for 'stronger ties', can the smaller, weaker Fiji fend off unwanted trade offs?

The ties with China have already led to the number of visitors from there leap dramatically - will there now be a similar  influx from India? And what land was exchanged for the chancery?

In fact, what price is Fiji paying for the glory of hosting two emerging powers?

“I apologize to you, Prime Minister Modi, on behalf of the people of Fiji, for this inexcusable behavior, which does not have anything to do with the relations between our countries. It only shows that some of us have some lessons to learn about democracy, statecraft, and nationhood.”
Bainimarama says the government after elections should be about finding ways to work for the common good.
Bainimarana added that among other rights democracy includes political rights, economic and social rights—the right to medical care and a healthy environment.
The SODELPA members of Opposition had earlier today boycotted the special Parliament sitting because they believe the government deliberately excluded them from the planning of Modis’ state visit.
The government on the other hand had yesterday released a statement saying the planning of the trip was the government’s responsibility.
- See more at: http://www.fbc.com.fj/fiji/24622/bainimarama-apologizes-to-modi#sthash.y6yG2E4a.dpuf

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Murder of Aussie woman another blight on Fiji tourism

Tracy Maw: Returned to Fiji to reconcile with lover.
It's the lifeblood of Fiji but the death of another tourist will surely hurt the industry the regime takes such pride in.

The discovery of the decomposed body of Australian woman, Tracy Ann O'Brien Maw, has been publicised widely in Australia, since she was found on Monday.

Both the details of her death and her relationship with a married Sigatoka local, plus the police investigation, have painted a picture of Fiji that is feral.

Media reports reveal she'd been in a relationship for four and a half years and had told a Facebook group she'd lost $42,000 plus her house as a result of it. She said she'd been sending him money regularly but he was probably spending it on his wife and family.

Relationship: She told friends she'd been ripped off.
"... when you come home to Aussie you really DONT know what they do when your not there. sad hey when we give them honesty and they just laugh at us in there lingo, even while we sit with then! How do we know what they saying?”

This is not the first time the death of a tourist has put the microscope on Fiji but the stories that have emerged about Ms Maw's relationship and the pictures plastered across the pages shows it as a country where you get ripped of, can't take your safety for granted or trust local authorities.

Police commissioner BJJ Groenewald insists a post-mortem could not determine the cause of death and Ms Maw had to be cremated 'because of the total decomposed situation of the body.'

Her family are less than satisfied: this is not a new complaint - the loved ones of other tourists who've had to turn to authorities have spoken of incompetency and lack of confidence in them.

A man was arrested yesterday and police say he is known to Ms Maw but are not in a position to release his name.

According to Tourism Fiji, visitor arrivals in September were up 4.5 percent from last year.

The Fiji Bureau of Statistics said there had been 64,000 visitors so far and the final number should surpass the 675,000 peak recorded in 2011.

Visitors from New Zealand and the US were up 15 per cent, while arrivals from China jumped 25 percent. Australian arrivals had dropped 0.4 percent.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

The bombshell Auditor General Reports for 2007 to 2013

The evidence of the Auditor General Reports indicates Bainimarama and Khaiyum obtained significant personal financial advantage by paying themselves large increases in salary, decided by themselves.

By Professor Wadan Narsey
Fiji tax-payers have received an absolute bombshell
regarding the use of their money by the Bainimarama Regime, with the simultaneous release of the Auditor General Reports for the years 2007 to 2013, all 28 volumes of them. (very much in keeping with the Diwali fireworks and in anticipation of the now forgotten Guy Fawkes night).

These reports are detailed audits of government incomes, expenditures and borrowings, usually tabled annually in Parliament by the Minister of Finance, as a "report on the performance of the government" for the previous year.

All taxpayers must understand what is in these reports, given that annually at least 25% (or more than a billion dollars) of their total incomes is forcibly taken from them by the government as taxes, hundreds of millions further are borrowed by the same government to be paid by the current and future tax payers, and the entire revenue is then spent allegedly on tax-payers’ behalf.

The Auditor General Reports try to verify whether the taxes are being collected according to the law, whether loans are being borrowed responsibly and as planned, and whether the revenues are being spent the way that parliament approved or as stated in the Annual Budget documents, or whether there are deficiencies in the above.

Upon tabling in parliament and with the elected parliamentarians, the Auditor General Reports are usually released to the media, and hence to the public to monitor and act if they see fit.
That is what used to happen annually for forty six years after independence in 1970.
Then the cycle was broken by Commodore Bainimarama who seized power through a coup in December 2006.

Principles of a sound audit
It is useful to first outline the basic principles which the owners of all organizations, private or public, expect from a good audit whether in accounting, economics or management:

The Auditor General must be totally independent of the Fiji Government (reasonably so) and must be adequately resourced (not so, according to his reports);
The government ministries must give the Auditor General every information that they ask for (they refused in a number of cases);
The audit must clearly point out the major faults (done pretty well), as well as the remedies to the owners, the people of Fiji (not so good);
The owners must be able to make the organizational changes that are necessary to eliminate the faults pointed out (little chance of that);
The next audit must check to see if the faults pointed out the previous year have been rectified (often not rectified) and the public notified of these failures (not done).

Busted by auditor general's report

Despite the Auditor General’s best efforts, some of these principles have been significantly compromised by the Bainimarama Government (as given in the brackets above), the most obvious being the complete failure to report annually.