AG welcomes media criticism and calls for improved govt communication

AG welcomes media criticism and calls for improved govt communication

By Rashika Kumar
Saturday 11/05/2024
Attorney General Siromi Turaga

Attorney General Siromi Turaga has welcomed criticism from the media and agrees that it can be difficult dealing with the government, however, he says there could be some issues that should be dealt with sensitivity.

While speaking during the Fijian Media Association’s penal discussion during Press Freedom Day, Turaga says the government can improve on communications and one of the easiest ways is through the Department of Information.

The Attorney General further says they must have conversations about social issues and it is not only about politics.

He says it is important to have issues such as development, water shortage, and electricity supply covered.

Turaga says they stand firm and it is an open door policy and he does not see any of the Ministers reluctant to speak with the media and the Prime Minister has also not shied away from the media.

Turaga says it is important that before you run a story, at least capture the government’s view.

He says there may be challenges because of time and the media would want to run the story but this is where they need collaboration.

Meanwhile, FMA Executive and fijivillage News Director Vijay Narayan says the government and the media can collaborate but they may not see eye to eye on certain issues on certain days however, the beauty of true democracy is that a mature government or organisation will be ready when the test comes.

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He says the media has a good code of ethics and it has been practised for many years, even over the last 16 years.

Narayan says the media will not forget its responsibility.

Fijian Media Association General Secretary, Stanley Simpson says the improved ranking on the Reporters Without Borders is mostly because of taking away MIDA.

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He says now the structures for communications with the government need to be improved and some of them are not conducive to communications.

Simpson says obviously, some things such as politics and more sensitive issues have to be left for the Ministers and the Permanent Secretaries but for some community and on-the-ground issues, the government should be able to open up communications so it is decentralized and journalists can hear things from people on the ground before it filters up because there are still some delays.

He also says Ministers should have things at their fingertips as it is disheartening when some ministers do not know basic things about their ministries.

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