Volume 22. No I APRIL 2017. ISSN 1029-7316
Back SDG 14.1 Nuclear survivors call on the region for support by
AFTER years of unsuccessfully petitioning the United States to clean up the harmful residues of its nuclear bomb tests, the Marshall Islands people are reaching out to the region’s youth to help champion their cause for social justice. The Marshall Islands Students Association, which is formed by Marshal Islands students in various tertiary institutions in Fiji, said it was critical to call attention to the land-based contaminants from the US nuclear tests. In its first week of being formed, the association launched an online campaign to call for the Pacific’s leaders to prioritise Sustainable Development Goal 14.1 which relates to land-based pollutants. Goal 14.1 did not receive strong support from several technical agencies which cited lack of data. A total of about 67 nuclear and thermonuclear bomb tests were conducted on Enewetak and Bikini Atoll. A concrete dome located on the Marshall Islands’ Runit Island in Enewatak Atoll is the site of one of the most toxic dump sites. It is suspected
United Nations General Assembly president Peter Thomson congratulated activists Danity Laukon, middle, and Brooke Abraham for their efforts to raise awareness on the plight of their Marshall Islands people. aIMAGE: SPREP/Jilda Shem
to be leaking. Danity Laukon, one of the association’s leaders, said if SDG 14.1 is not prioritised, “all other SDGs are unattainable.” Such pollutants impact on health, food security and general well-being. She said if land-based pollutants, like the nuclear waste that contaminates their waters and land, are not safely disposed of,
it “will remain spread across our islands for the next 24,000 years.” “This is not only a concern for the Marshall Islands, but one that concerns us all in the region,” warned Laukon, a postgraduate student at USP. “Nuclear contamination does not respect any border or boundaries.” Another activist Brooke Abraham, who was part
of the team that organised an information session at the Ocean Summit in March, said there was an urgent need for assistance to clean their islands of the nuclear contaminants. She said people were obviously affected by the contaminants but there was no effective assistance to clean their islands. She added that the high rates of cervical
cancer was indicative of the impacts of these contaminants. The group has called for submissions of poetry, dance, art and photos to be published online to show solidarity. The submissions are to be tagged with the following hashtags: #RunitDome, #SDG14_1_4, #SDG14, #Woddejippel, #SaveOurOceans, or #MISA4thePacific.
Student leaders refuse FEO’s help by
The University of the South Pacific Students’ Association (USPSA) Laucala elections will not be conducted by the Fijian Elections Office after a majority of its student leaders voted against it. The reversal in its decision follows almost two weeks after Elections Minister Aiyaz SayedKhaiyum announced that FEO had accepted the invitation to facilitate the student election. USPSA secretary general Tieri Bulivou expressed disappointment with its affiliate’s decision. “The president (USPSA Laucala) informed us that they have withdrawn their decision to continue with the Fijian Elections Office (FEO),” she said. “Initially we started to move with the FEO (because) it was a decision we thought was in the best interest of the students.” She said “strong opposition from the USPSA Laucala Senate” caused the executives of USPSA Laucala to withdraw. The Senate comprises the leaders of all the cultural associations and the faculty representatives.
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Report unfair landlords Any increase in rent is illegal: Commission by
STUDENTS who feel they have been wronged by their landlords should file a complaint with the Fiji Commerce Commission. This is the best and most effective means to ensure grievances regarding unscrupulous landlords are investigated, said USP student leader Martin David . David, who is the president of the university’s Laucala student association, said students tend to keep such problems to themselves and so no redress is sought. His comments follow the Commission confirmed that
they continued to receive continuous complaints about increased rent despite the rent freeze. “Sometimes students keep their problems to themselves because they think it’s too personal,” said Martin. “It is important for them to come forward and report these rental issues to USPSA because we can negotiate with Fiji Commerce Commission about it. “We will look into it to make sure that those who are involved in illegal rent increase can drop the fees to a certain level that
can be affordable for the students,” he said. USP student Foloke Latu said she paid for a room off-campus but was not given a tenancy agreement or receipt that day. “I was only given the receipt when I approached the property manager a month later for a refund after I changed my mind about the flat,” she said. “I was told that my payment is non-refundable. I reported this to the Fiji Commerce Commission.” She said she was ony able to recover half of the sum because she did not have a receipt.
Solomon Islands Student Association president Walter Waneoroa confirmed that many of their students complained about their landlords raising their rent. Some of them had to seek temporary accommodation with other students because the increase was too much. Sekope Ciriyamotu, a senior compliance officer with the Commission, said landlords caught increasing rent risk being fined up to $2000. These landlords could also face on-the-spot fines that range from $100 to $1000.
Shuttle commuters welcome bus shelter by
STUDENTS at USP Laucala’s Upper Campus who use the shuttle to Statham Campus can now wait for it in comfort because of a newlybuilt bus shelter that is tipped to cost close to $20,000. The bus shelter project, which is financed by Laucala Campus students via their general services fee, was identified as a worthwhile project after students complained that they usually had to wait in the rain at the pick-up point near the tennis court. The student association’s Laucala arm, USPSA Laucala, budgeted $20,000 for the project. The $20,000 budget was queried but former USPSA Laucala president Henry Bill said they had yet to pay the contracted company, Cope Construction. “So far, USPSA Laucala has not yet signed the sign-off form as we still have issues with the roller pulleys
USP Laucala students wait for the shuttle at the new bus shelter. aPHOTOGRAPHER: Vilimaina Naqelevuki for the transparent plastic cover to protect students from the rain,” said Bill, who is now the vice president of the main parent student body USPSA. Cope Construction’s
STUDENT EDITORS The Editor Linda Filiai Deputy Editor Shivika Mala Chief-of-Staff Heather Traill Online Editor Avneel Chand Social Media Editor Ilisapeci Tinanisigabalavu Campus News Editor Ruci Vakamino DEVELOPMENT News Editor Tokasa Tilatila
Sports Editor Nicolette Chambers POLITICS Editor Chrisnrita Aumanu Chief Sub-Editor Mereoni Mili Pictures Editor Vilimaina Naqelevuki Photographers Ruci Vakamino Charles Kadamana Allen Waitara
engineer Ronal Lal confirmed that they had been requested to fix the pulley for the shelter’s cover. Bill said payment would be made once they were satisfied with
the project. He assured that the USP tender process was followed and a committee had overseen the awarding of the tender. Meanwhile, student Jason Tigarea said he
was thankful that he did not have to wait in the hot sun for the shuttle. “Before, we used to wait for the bus shuttle in the hot sun and even during the rainy weather,” said Tigarea.
Wansolwara is the student training publication of the University of the South Pacific’s Journalism Programme. It is primarily an online publication that has the best of its content published in this quarterly newspaper, which is printed by The Fiji Sun. The national newspaper distributes this student newspaper nationwide as an insert and gives about 3,000 copies to the Wansolwara team to circulate free-of-charge on USP’s campuses and in the cities.
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Zome cuts rent woes by
SOLOMON Island students who have to live off-campus say the intervention of one of their compatriots has been a huge relief. The students were referring to Zome Holding Pte Ltd, a company started by former USP student Mamu Paza. Paza said he stepped in to address the accommodation woes of Solomon Islands students studying in Fiji because he saw how much suffering they experienced because of rent-issue. “It was then (in 2015) that I identified this issue that made me sad because students paid huge money on rent but some accommodations were not up to their expectations,” he explained. Paza said Zome owned six properties in Suva and one in Nadi. He said said the project was dear to him because it enabled him to help his countrymen and women focus on their studies. Furthermore, it helped retain their currency because his profits return to the Solomon Island economy, he said. “It is estimated that 500 students, spend SBD$10 million (FJD $2.7m) per year on accommodation, which drains our country’s economy,” said Paza. Last year about 1084 Solomon Islands students studied at USP. This year’s roll is not known. James Tetea, a final year Solomon Island student, said Zome made a huge difference for them. He said they would not need to worry when their rent allowance was late. TEACHING STAFF Supervising Editor/ Print&Online Tutor
Irene Manarae firstname.lastname@example.org Journalism Programme coordinator Dr Shailendra Singh email@example.com Broadcast lecturer Dr Olivier Jutel firstname.lastname@example.org Broadcast Tutor Eliki Drugunalevu drugunalevu_e@usp.
Student leaders raise allowance by
The University of the South Pacific Students’ Association (USPSA) Laucala senate members increased their sitting allowance by 33 per cent without following procedure. That means senate members, are each paid FJ$80 for every association meeting they attend. It was previously $60. This was confirmed by association treasurer Ankit Prasad at a student forum. Students at the forum questioned the need for the raise. Prasad said the increase was necessary because it was not known when the last increase to allowances was made.
Masau Detudamo, a USP student, voiced concern over the senate’s behaviour. “The issue was not the raise itself but the process and manner of how they attend the raise,” he said. “There needs to be a policy or an independent review in order for them to justify the raise. Hence my question to the Treasurer, if there was a review done or record and documentations to justify the raise and the reasons for the raise and there was none.” Law student Bulou Waqa raised her concern that students were not made aware of what was happening in the USPSA. “It is unfair that the students were not aware of the raise in
the senates’ allowances. If the student leaders’ allowance was documented, it would be fair,” Waqa said. Waqa added that students need to be aware of the decisions made by the USP Students Association. Prasad said the decision to increase the allowance was made by senate members. Leaders of the various cultural associations, faculty representatives and the executive committee form the USPSA Laucala Senate. There are a total of 30 members in the Senate. Prasad said a review of the increase in allowance will be discussed in the next senate meeting.
Errors force change in USP counseling policy by
ACADEMIC counseling can only be conducted by the course coordinator or a more senior academic staff. This was confirmed by Student Administrative Services’s assessment co-ordinator Muariro Samisoni. He explained that the change was made after a few students enrolled for courses they did not need because an academic adviser had wrongly informed them. Samisoni said only senior academic staff are authorised to advise students. This semester a significant number of complaints were registered by law students. Darren Hickes, a law student in his final semester, said he was among the students who were wrongly ad-
Language ‘critical’ for survival of Pacific cultures by
TO preserve a language is to preserve a culture, says indigenous Fijian language studies lecturer Sekove Degei. This, he says, makes the teaching of Pacific vernacular a critical step to keeping the Pacific cultures alive. Degei is one of three staff who teach the indigenous Fijian vernacular studies at the University of the South Pacific. The programme was threatened with closure because it was deemed not financially viable. However, continued support was successfully sought from the iTaukei Trust Fund last month. Degei said indigenous Fijian youth need to be made aware of how learning their language was key to protecting their heritage. “Someone has to encourage all these young people to maintain and make sure that it is handed down to the next generation,” he said. Linguistics lecturer Fiona Willans urged parents to speak their mother tongue at home with their children. She said this would make a huge difference. “One of the major prob-
Student leaders refuse FEO help with elections u
Dr Akanisi Keidrayate, second from right, accepts the support from iTaukei Trust Fund director Isoa Kaloumaira. From left, lecturer Sekove Degei, Prof Paul Geraghty, Kaloumaira, Kedrayate and the Fund’s culture and heritage specialist Dr Apolonia Tamata. aIMAGE: CHARLES KADAMANA
lems is that people feel a societal pressure to speak dominant languages, such as English, or the standard dialect of their language,” she said. “This pressure is natural, but we should be reassured that being multilingual is completely normal, so we can speak our mother tongue comfortably at home, and also learn to use lots of other languages too.”
“Just speaking your language to your children, or using it on facebook every day, can make a huge difference.” She added that writing a few new stories in the vernacular was another way of protecting language from being lost. “Not just traditional stories but modern ones too – can give children more of a reason to use your
language,” she said. Willans also suggested the need for education in the Pacific region to prioritise their languages in a child’s early years of formal education. “The classroom can be quite a foreign place for young children when they start school, and they start to believe that their own language doesn’t have much value,” she said.
vised about the need to study an extra unit to complete his law degree. His confusion arose when he was alerted that the ‘Equity and Trust’ unit (LW302) had been compulsory for students who enrolled in the program in 2013 and prior to 2013. This requirement did not apply to law students who enrolled from 2014. Hickes said the bigger issue was the rule that students must graduate based on the requirements of the year they enrolled in. “If it is true that we can only graduate based on the requirements of our year of enrollment, then sadly I feel that I have done some unnecessary units which I thought would count towards my graduation,” he said.
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It also includes the executives. USPSA Laucala president Martin David said the Senate felt that it was too early for FEO to facilitate the student elections. He said he and his executives were now trying to secure a university staff member to be the returning officer. However, other student leaders have expressed disappointment. One of them is History Students Association president Penina Waqatabu. She called on the Senate to consult members before finalising a decision on engaging FEO. “The involvement of FEO would pave the way forth for transparency and professionalism in regards to the general elections,” she said. “ Student issues are real and the needs that are prevalent should take precedence over other needs.” “I believe that this new directive is onesided and should not be considered by just one party or group,” she added. Martin said he and his executives wanted FEO to facilitate the election so that more students take part. “When you measure the outcome of the election every year, not more than a thousand students vote,” he said. “Laucala is the biggest campus within the region hosting around 12,000-13,000 students.” He added that it was thus appalling that less than 10 per cent of the students at Laucala Campus vote. Martin and his team will confirm a date for the election as soon as a returning officer is confirmed.
Geraghty: Disney compensated Korova by
THE people of Korova were handsomely compensated for the use of their traditional canoe design in the Disney animated-film hit, Moana, says linguistics professor Paul Geraghty. He was responding to concerns raised in the news and in social media over whether the Korova people were adequately compensated for sharing their traditional knowl-
edge or intellectual property. “I can say the people of Korova, with my advice but not just on my advice; on their own authority, wanted to share their knowledge with Disney and they were quite happy to do so,” said the adjunct USP professor who is renown in the region for his knowledge of Pacific languages. Geraghty had taken the directors of the film to Korova settlement in Suva because
they still had the knowledge of their ancestors who were reknown seafarers. The Korova people are originally from Moce Island in the Lau Group, where Fiji’s best seafarers come from. The Korova people who shared their knowledge were given gifts and were also given a grant to build a Drua, one of their traditional canoes, for them. “They won’t be able to do it because they couldn’t afford to buy the wood, the timber
for the Drua.” He emphasised that the design of the Pacific canoe, like the Drua, was similar to other Pacific cultures. “(The designs) are the same through most of the Pacific,” said Geraghty. “They are identical; there is no difference between Tongan Kalia, the Samoan Alia and Fijian Drua.” q
Read more on Moana on Page 10
No anonymity on net, says CJ
INTERNET users must reveal their identity as anonymity has no place on the web. Anonymity, said Chief Justice Anthony Gates, would allow people to be irresponsible and even criminal elements to wreak havoc in society. “The internet cannot be allowed to be an unruly no-go unpoliced area,” he said. Justice Gates made the comments in his opening address at the World Consumer Rights Day event that was organised by the Consumer
Council of Fiji. “Freedom of speech is not the freedom to propagate known untruths or to disseminate hate speech,” he said. “If the internet is to be a useful factor in our lives person contributing must be more responsible and respect the truth.” Justice Gates added that criminal, extremist, or pornographic sites should have no place in the internet. He referred to Fiji’s first social media defamatory case. Justice Gates noted that although the de-
fendant, in his testimony, said the statements he made about a company and its proprietor were false, he held that “it’s only the internet.” Fiji’s head of the judiciary stressed that the laws of defamation also apply to unjustified, malicious or defamatory comment on the internet. Justice Gates also cautioned the media on its role and use of social media. “The media will have to exercise extreme care when repeating what is said on social media as we are more likely to be
manipulated than told the truth,” he said. He also emphasised that there was potential for great possibilities with the proper use of the internet. “It could spread knowledge and thus empower the impoverished and marginalised granting access to information and learning,” said Justice Gates. This, he added, was what the father of the internet, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, had meant it to be – “an instrument for Chief Justice Sir Anthony Gates at an event earlier this month. a: IMAGE: Fijian Government FB Page good.”
Upgrade internet security, consumer body tells ISPs by
THE Consumer Council of Fiji has called on Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in the country to “step up to the game”. The comment was made by the council’s senior manager Bindula Devi at the World Consumer Rights Day that was marked on March 15. “ISPs need to step up to the game and provide consumers with valuable services, as well as guarantee consumer data protection through internal policies and security processes,” said Devi. Fiji’s Commerce Commission agreed. Commision deputy chief Seymour Singh said there was a need to protect consumer data. “Consumers need to be protected, and anything to do with their information, their data is their data,” said Singh. “Unless they give consent it should not be in the public domain.” This was in light of the imbalance of power between consumers and online vendors, whereby consumers are disadvantaged. “The need to protect ICT users arise mainly because of the imbalance in power and technical knowledge which put consumers at a disadvantage, they do not have much bargaining power,” said Devi. She also revealed that there have been 283 complaints over the past 4 years of fraud, and identity theft. “From 2013-2016 the council has registered a total of 283 complaints from consumers regarding identity theft, fraudulent online shopping website etc.,” said Devi. 4
Mentor notes IT trend
USP students working in one of the Laucala Campus internet labs. Internet service providers have been asked to upgrade net security. aPHOTOGRAPHER: RUCI VAKAMINO The Manager Business Improvement for Telecommunications Fiji Limited (TFL), Sanjay Maharaj, gave assurance that there were mechanisms in place to protect users. He added that they also notified users when an unusual activity is noted in a user’s account. ASP Serepepli Neiko from the Fiji Police Cyber Crime Unit said the reports of cybercrime has been intensifying in terms of offence since their establishment. “Since our establishment in 2008 we started getting complaints of cyberbullying,
we have moved from bullying to hacking in 2017, child pornography and online shopping complexes,” said Neiko. However, the Fiji Police Force have been active in advocating the use of social media responsibly. “We have been engaged in community awareness through the use of community policing programmes, also we have been featuring on talkback shows and we have also been working with Fiji Media,” added Neiko While the commerce commission have drafted a guideline for consumers and ven-
dors and are soliciting public feedback. “We have now launched ecommerce self-regulating guideline meaning that we are now seeking the public to start reading the guideline that we have published and also start providing us feedback what should be in that guideline,” said Singh. The commission also has a contingency plan should the draft guideline fail. “Should the traders and consumers fail to comply with the norms of the industry then that self-regulating guideline will be taken to formulate an act,” said Singh.
THERE is a visible increase in the number of women who have chosen information and communication technologies as a career path and this should be encouraged. This was expressed by IT specialist Georgina Naigulevu, during the inaugural Techfest that was held earlier this month. Close to 20 women took part in the Techfest. Naigulevu, who is a senior analyst in a commercial bank, said the university’s varied initiatives to test students’ skills and ensure they were work-ready should be commended. “This is the kind of place where I can see talent,” she said. Naigulevu emphasised the need to ensure that what was taught at tertiary institutions was relevant to the industry, where trends evolve very rapidly. Catherine Raboiliku, one of the female participants, said it was an excellent experience “It made me become more active (and) I got to learn a lot more and to become confident in whatever I do,” she said. Other universities were invited to field teams of five but none registered interest. Computer science lecturer Dr Dhenesh Subramanian said the Techfest was meant to sharpen students’ skills. He said this was necessary especially given the gap between the curriculum in school and the industry’s demands.
Petition appeals for radio service
ing and FM radio leaves millions of people in the AN online petition to the Pacific - from West Papua, FILE PHOTO: Post Cyclone Pam, 2015. Area Councillor Joseph Kalpeau and Shefa Province’s Janet Orah examine Australian government to re- up to Nauru, Micronesia and some of the solar power equipment destroyed when Pam demolished the Solar Mamas workshop in Epau Village in instate the Australia Broad- the Marshall Islands, and Vanuatu. a: IMAGE: UN Women/Ellie van Barren casting Corporation’s short- east to the Cook Islands and wave radio service continues French Polynesia, without coverage. to gain support. Following petition updates Despite being a near three months since the service on Change.Org, Australia’s was cut, organisers behind Independent Senator Nick the petition are not giving Xenophon has tabled an up - and have called on all amendment in the ParliaPacific islanders and the ment, seeking to restore the global community to sign services. A report on the ABC the petition. Pacific Free(Restoring dom Forum’s (PFF) editor, Ammendment Shortwave RaJason Brown dio) Bill 2017 says they ,has been rewill continferred to the ue to liaise Senate for inbehind the Natural quiry by 10th scenes with supporters diasters are May, 2017. USP’s Jouron next best nalism costeps. reportedly ordinator Dr PFF in Shailendra their camincreasing Singh says paign to save the shortin frequency ABC should seriously wave created an online peand ferocity, consider reconnecting tition which the service now has so the because it is 1,026 supa moral obliporters. timing is gation. “Most of “New Zeathe signareally land Internatures come tional withfrom Auspoor. drew their tralia and shortwave New Zeatransmissions land, including our island communities and now Radio Australia such as Fiji, Samoa and follows suit. Long-time loyal listeners have become Tonga,” he says. Brown says petition- orphaned.” Singh describes the exit as ers from as far as Argentina, South Africa, Finland , a catastrophe that will affect Lithuania, Japan and Russia millions across the Pacific have vowed their support to who will be without a reliable news service. reverse ABC’s decision. “Natural disasters are He says there is also a significant community of radio reportedly increasing in enthusiasts worldwide, who frequency and ferocity, so are concerned about the ever the timing is really poor,” shrinking number of non- Singh said. Brown said he believed digital services available to there was hope. He encourthe public. “They are concerned that aged Pacific Islanders to if the earth ever suffered a take an hour out of their significant sun spot event, busy schedules to sign the all digital communication petition. The online petition would be fried instantly, can be viewed and signed leaving us without any at: http://www.aph.gov.au/ means of communicating,” Parliamentary_Business/ Brown said. ABC’s decision Committees/Senate/Envito replace the shortwave fre- ronment_and_Communicaquency with online stream- tions/Shortwaveradio
End nuclear ‘monstrosity’
We salute the children of the Marshall Islands for their efforts and urge all Oceanians to support them.
In my ideal Pacific Excerpts from Teresia’ Teaiwa’s poem
LINDA FILIAI The Editor
O the Marshall Islands deserve more compensation from the United States for the loss of their land, and the threats to their identity and culture due to the impact of nuclear tests? The Marshalls Islands were the key testing grounds for the American military’s nuclear program during the height of the Cold War. A total of 67 nuclear and thermonuclear bomb tests conducted by US on Enewetak and Bikini atolls in 1946 and 1958. The Marshallese and other peoples of the Pacific continue to be innocent victims of these diabolical weapons. These islands have been described by many as “poison lands” and yet the culprits remain silent. No financial reward will be sufficient to compensate these islanders for their suffering and loss. Many have lost their loved ones to cancer and numerous health problems suspected to be linked to the nuclear waste that slowly wrecks havoc in their lives. Many have fled to seek refuge in neighboring islands because of the high radioactivity. These dangerous levels are estimated to remain hazardous for about 24,000 years. Pacific islanders should urge their leaders to prioritise our ocean and islands for future generations. This year a small group of tertiary students from the Marshall Islands have combined their resources to
YOUR SAY It is extremely sad to note that despite a lot of effort by the Law Students Association and other respective stakeholders in the past, the LLB programme at the University of the South Pacific remains famous for the fact that one has to travel all the way to Emalus Campus in Vanuatu for face-to-face classes for 300-level courses. Although there has been a small breakthrough in this, it is still quite fascinating to observe that despite the Laucala Campus having more students doing the LLB programme than those at Emalus. I believe the USP Senate should seriously consider bringing fulltime face-to-face classes for 300-level LLB units to Laucala, so that not only it is fair to the students registered one of the largest campuses of USP, but also gives an opportunity to Fiji to produce better trained legal practitioners through USP, since the other competing tertiary institutions in Fiji provide for this. I seriously hope that the relevant stakeholders weigh in the benefits of bringing these courses to Laucala Campus, not only for the benefit of the students, but also for the nation of Fiji as a whole. ASHISH NAND 6
raise awareness on their people’s plight. The students, who formed the Marshall Islands Student’s Association (MISA), are calling on Pacific leaders to support Article 14.1 of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals which refers to the protection of our oceans for sustainable living. Article 14.1 of the SDGs states: By 2025, prevent and significantly reduce marine pollution of all kinds, in particular from land-based activities, including marine debris and nutrient pollution. This article strengthens the Marshall Islands’ case for justice. The Marshallese are concerned that this article may be removed because of a lack of data in the region. Pasifika leaders should not allow this to happen. Article 14.1 is critical to the protection of our oceans. It will be a steep fight for the people of the Marshall Islands to seek justice and the funds to make their homelands safe again. But if the region is united in its support, the weight of that journey will be greatly eased. This has been demonstrated in the case of West Papua. Communities in the region, regardless of some of their leaders’ cowardly positions, have spoken out in support of the Melanesians of West Papua. The movement has become global and gives our fellow Pacific Islanders much hope. Let’s not forget that any nuclear waste in our region is bound to affect all Oceanians. Already, the dome
under which a significant amount of nuclear waste is stored is starting to crack. Marshall Islanders believe it is already leaking from the bottom. Too many of their people are dying from cancer. Such is their earnest belief that mothers now keep their children away from the sea. We salute the children of the Marshall Islands for their efforts and urge all Oceanians to support them. We also take this time and space to salute the late Dr Teresia Teaiwa who was an inspiration to so many in our region and beyond. Dr Teaiwa worked tirelessly to raise Pacific consciousness among the youth of our region so that are proud of their heritage and act to protect it. Prominent spoken word artist Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner aptly described her as Mother of Oceania. Like the late Pacific scholar Epeli Hau’ofa, Dr Teaiwa touched hundreds of lives through her scholarship and activism. Through her work, she has birthed many Pasifika champions and critical thinkers who are already making a difference for our region. This is the best way to remember her and Hau’ofa. And like Hau’ofa, there is no doubt that the repercussions of her work - captured in research, articles, poems, songs, stories and videos - will continue to impact generations to come. a
Should the USPSA elections be conducted by an independent body like the Fijian Elections Office? ` Yes, I feel the elections office is familiar with the protocol and it would be more efficient. SEMI TALAWADUA,
No since it deals particularly with students. It is fair enough for the student body to run their own elections. LOIUS FAIMUINA, Samoa
Yes. So that there is transparency and votes are not tampered with. Asilika Tokona, Vanuatu
PILOSKY IS there more to student leaders not wanting the Fijian Elections Office to conduct the student elections at Laucala campus? PILOSKY overheard that if FEO oversees the election, more students would vote. That’s supposed to be a good thing right? Apparently
not for some. A large number of voters means some do not have enough cronies to ensure success at the polls. Another insider whispered that cultural group leaders are also worried that their dominance in the executive body will come to an end. Surely, our students are more intelligent than to vote along racial lines. PILOSKY hears that a small
but iconic supermarket that has been a Suva landmark for decades is changing hands.The multi-million dollar deal has been sealed. Another emerging supermarket company is said to be the buyer. PILOSKY was shocked to learn that a student leader is actually employed by the university. Surely this is no secret
as the leader’s profile is in USP’s online staff directory. PILOSKY was shocked to see shouting and blatant disrespect among academics at several sessions in a Lautoka conference. And at one session she wondered why all 18 or so academics were on their gadgets during a presentation.
A legacy worth emulating
In my ideal Pacific Epeli Hau’ofa is still alive and he’s healthy without anything afflicting his front, or his rear His Oceanic imaginary has expanded beyond even his own expectations and he would have invited Between Wind & Water to be exhibited at his Centre and given you all a residency so that the over one hundred students enrolled in Jacki Leota’s UU204 course this summer could hear you all speak and be provoked to ask you questions and ask themselves questions about what their ideal Pacific looks like (This is very important because the majority of those students are Indo-Fijian and will be thinking about themselves as Pacific for the first time in their lives and the majority of them are studying business and accounting and will be thinking about how to make the Pacific and the world a better place for everyone, instead of just for themselves.)
Keep her legacy alive. It is the best way to remember Dr Teresia Teaiwa, one of the Pacific region’s most influential thinkers, who succumbed to cancer last month. This was the sentiment shared by many of her close friends, including In my ideal Pacific historian Dr Robert Nicole. Business Studies students go on to do masters degrees in “For us, the challenge is to continue that legacy and to make sure that her ideas, art, and poetry remains alive and well, and is transferred, and Public Health like the late Darlene Keju from the Marshall Islands keeps being transferred down to generations,” he said. and realise the crucial importance of the art Dr Nicole said the region had lost a true champion with the passing of Dr Teaiwa. “It’s a massive loss for this region,” he said. “Teresia was like a in empowering young Pacific people to flame that lit up this region through the brilliance of her thought and the creativhave positive attitudes towards their bodies ity that she put into her writing.” They had collaborated on many initiatives. The renown Niu Wave Writers and their sexuality and their environment collective formed two decades ago was one of them. Several of the region’s so they would be able to live off their land creative writers and thinkers were nurtured in this space. He shared that Dr Teaiwa “infused in the group a kind of creativity that and the sea around them and could participate in none of those within the group had ever experienced.” the wider world’s economics on their own terms Dr Teaiwa was the director of Va’aomanu Pasifika, the University of Victoria’s centre for Pacific and Samoan Studies, when she succumbed to cancer on March 21. In my ideal Pacific She was renown for her ground-breaking research in Pacific Studies, which covered contemporary issues including women’s my ancestral island of Banaba or Ocean Island activism, Pacific pedagogy and Fijian women soldiers. in the central Pacific would not have been The Head of USP’s Oceania Centre for Arts, Culture and Pacific Studies, Dr David Gegeo, said Dr Teaiwa was an innovamined into a moonscape oblivion tor of ideas, a pioneer and a giant in Pacific Studies academia. by the British Phosphate Company “In UU204 the final assignment is called Matai where students perform dances, poems and sing,” he said. “This was an But if that never happened idea that was innovated by Dr Teaiwa at Victoria University.” New Zealand would not have become quite such the land Dr Teaiwa’s excellence in teaching earned her numerous accolades and several awards, including the Ako Aotearoa Tertiary Teaching Excellence of milk and honey that it did and we all probably Award in 2014. She was the first Pasifika woman to receive the award. An exwouldn’t be sitting here today cerpt from the award citation read: “Since 2000, Teresia has courageously led the development of her discipline implementing the first undergraduate Pacific Studies because I’d be surprised major in the world. Using the concepts of Etak and Akamai, Teresia is challenging if our sitting here today not only a European philosophy around learning and teaching, but also Pasifika peoples’ confidence in their ways of knowing and achieving. One student comments: was ever part of the dreaming “I now have a deeper understanding of my purpose and why my parents pushed me of the tangata whenua who lived here prior to so hard to go to university”. Prolific Pacific poet and climate change activist Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner, in one of three the arrival of The Tory in 1839 poetic tributes to her mentor, described Dr Teaiwa as the Mother of Oceania. She said or the iwi who even preceded them Tere was an enlightened human being who was generous with her time and knowledge. Dr Teaiwa was also known for her social activism. She was involved in several projects that encouraged young people to be engaged and to think critically. In my ideal Pacific She was also very active in social justice campaigns like the Free West Papua movement. Dr Nicole said wherever oppression or any form of domination existed, Dr Teaiwa was determined things wouldn’t be perfect to understand and express the injustice within it. but everyone would learn deeply from their mistakes “We have lost a very powerful voice; a very powerful advocate for the arts but also for justice for the rights of colonised peoples, for democracy, for equality and gender issues,” he said. This is like the sharks that WWF reflected in her poem My Ideal Pacific, which captures her aspirations for the region’s people. has tracked diving to depths of 1000 metres or more A big part of that dream was for Pasifika people to become decolonised in their way of thinking, and to be critical thinkers who value their heritage and at the same time are equipped to navigate the modern on their journeys around the Pacific world for the benefit of their island communities. a Background graphic image by artist Josh Dean
Emphasis on female fishers in leadership by
There is a need for women to be included in the decision-making processes at all levels of the fisheries industry. This was emphasised by the Women in Fisheries Network (WiFN) at the Speakers Debate last month. “In decision-making, in some policy, I don’t think the Ministry is gender sensitised,” said Cherie Morris, the spokesperson from WiFN. This was revealed in a report by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community released in 2014. The report, titled The role and engagement of women in fisheries in Fiji, stated that although women contributed substantially to fisheries and development, they were largely absent at the decision-making levels. Marine scientist Dr Joeli Veitayaki, who was also among the debaters,
reiterated this. “Women actually fish more than the men and it is so important in their roles in the family (that) it would be sensible to involve them in decision-making, (especially in the) activities that relate to them,” he said. He said women fishers were capable of making decisions that would benefit the whole community. “Women are lot more steadfast, trust worthy than the men in terms of commitment,” said Dr Veitayaki. “When they commit to something, they eventually will do it.” He said he supported the idea of designating important leadership positions to women in local community bodies that helped in the management of those resources. Morris said the involvement of women in such decision making will not
She may have grown up poor but she was richly endowed in love and support from her parents. SANITA IOAPO tells of how her parents’ support and unwavering belief in her led her to success. Today, she runs her own traditional printing business as she pursues a Masters Degree in accounting.
Humble beginnings by
HE daughter of a small copra farmer is today one of Samoa’s youngest and successful businesswoman. Sanita Ioapo, or Nita as she is fondly called, is the owner of ‘Le Nita’s design’, a traditional screen printing business she built from scratch. The business has helped her to send her seven siblings to school and to buy her parents their own home. “Weekly I would receive approximately 400 Tala (FJ$330) from orders I do at home and this income helped to support my parents and younger siblings since majority of my staple work pay is deducted for the loans.”
A file picture of a woman and her companion selling fish at the Sigatoka Market. aIMAGE: Flickr/JohnTrif
only contribute to a more sustainable fisheries development but also generate income and reduce poverty. According to the 2014 SPC report, women are often disadvantaged by institutional barriers that limits them from decision making within the fisheries sector. Morris further adds the need for gender sensitisation and strategic plans that involves women within the Fisheries sector. “Local governance systems can be used to identify appropriate structures
which can be maximised to enable women’s full participation in decision making at the community level,” said Morris. WiFN launched the Gender and Fisheries workshop project with the aim of creating awareness and building knowledge on gender issues in the Ba and Tailevu provinces. Morris said this was to enable opportunities for women and increase their participation in decisionmaking and management at all levels of sustainable fisheries in Fiji.
It’s a success story by any measure. For Sanita though, there is still much more on her To-Do list to accomplish. This year she is enrolled at the University of the South Pacific to pursue a Masters degree. USP’s Hall of Residence at the Upper Campus in Laucala Bay will be her home for the next two years. “I am currently doing my Masters Degree in Professional Accounting and I hope to do my Doctor of Philosophy (PHD) before going back to Samoa to start a clothing design shop,” she shared. When someone recalls their childhood in the islands, they remember playing with the kids in the neighbourhood, stuffing themselves with junk food,riding bicycles and tearing the house apart. For the Savai’i-bred youth though, her childhood was quite different. She said it was the norm for her and her siblings to ask for cheaper things at the supermarket because the only spoils their dad could afford was either ice cream or lollies. Nita’s father Ioapo Taua’i was then a copra farmer and fisherman. Her mother, Iavai Taua’i, took care of sales of their produce at the market. “We didn’t have electricity so I studied under kerosene lamps on a daily basis and there were days when we only had taro for dinner or rice,” she recalls. The daily market sales was less than 40 Tala (FJ$40) and so Nita’s parents looked to supplement the income by making banana chips to sell to primary school students. This idea proved a winner and everyone chipped in. Nita, who is the sixth child in the family, learned how to make
chips when she was in Grade 3. Her shift was usually after school. When it became clear that Nita was an exceptional student, her parents moved the family to Upolu so that she could attend one of Samoa’s best secondary school’s, Samoa College. She said most of the students who went to the school were dropped off while she had to walk for 20 minutes every day. She said she looks back on these challenges with fondness because she understands that those struggles made her the resilient woman she is today. After high school she earned an Australian Government Scholarship to pursue her undergraduate degree at USP. After successfully completing this, she returned to Samoa and worked for a bit. It was then that she started her printing business. Nita said her passion for design lead her to begin the Elei handprinting business three years ago. “My aunty taught me hand printing and from then on I started my small printing business,” she said. While the business continues to grow, she is intent on completing her studies within five years. She said she and her siblings earn enough now to ensure their parents can have “the retirement life they deserve.” Nita said their parents were very supportive of them and without this, she and her siblings would not have been as successful as they are today. She added that their parents always believed in them and encouraged them. Her dad, she said, was her pillar of inspiration. She said he always reassured them that despite the challenges they faced, they would become successful in life.a
Keep the faith, student leader tells women by
SHE is the chair of the University of the South Pacific’s students council, the body that governs and oversees the student associations at all of USP’s campuses and centres throughout the region. The sheer number of student members makes it a daunting task but it does not hing to rattle Angela Charlie’s confidence. She said this was because of her managerial experience in the work place. Charlie is also the corporate services manager at the Cook Islands National Su-
Angela Charlie, the chair of USP’s federal student body. aIMAGE: Supplied
perannuation Fund. She pins her biggest challenge at this position to be
the traditional ideals held by some in the male-dominated student body. “I saw that some of the student leaders do not appreciate getting orders from a female,” she shared. Charlie said being open about such things was the best solution. “Having an open communication can solve any problem,” she said. Charlie holds a Masters Degree in Business Administration and is pursuing a law degree at USP. Studying and working a full-time job takes up most of her time, leaving precious
little time for her to spend with her husband and sons. She said it was fortunate that her husband, who also works full-time in a managerial position, was understanding. “One of my biggest challenges is leaving family behind during travels. Both my husband and I hold management positions, and we have two kids. Our biggest challenge is being separated from our kids,” she said. Charlie graduated with a Post Graduate Diploma in Public Sector Management in 2013 and, two years later, she completed her Masters.
She said being a woman sometimes meant one had to work harder to achieve something. It was at times like this that one simply had to keep the faith. This was her message to women of the Pacific. “Vaine toa, vaine mana – kia orana, e kia manuia,” she said. “(This means) Keep the faith which carries each one of us daily to achieving all our dreams; for that continuous strive to success, and to become successors for our children tomorrow.” a
Deeper Moana connections
Some of the region’s best minds - and voices - contributed to the making of Moana, the animated adventure about a Polynesian heroine. Here, a renown linguist shares his involvement.
A scene from the animated feature film in which the Ocean chooses Moana. This was one of the major changes to the storyline after the Disney team travelled to the region for a better understanding of Pacific culture. The Korova settlers, who are descendants of expert seafarers from Fiji’s Lau Group, shared that their ancestors’ mana in navigation came from their respect for the ocean and talking with the ocean. In the initial storyline, the ocean was not a character. aPHOTO: SUPPLIED
Linguist Professor Paul Geraghty. aIMAGE: Avneel AbHishay
We had to correct that tendency because we didn’t want it to be identified to any particular Polynesian nation.
OT many people know that the University of the South Pacific’s involvement with Disney’s animation blockbuster Moana went beyond its choral contributions. The less-known but significant contribution was in the authentic use of language. Disney stalwarts Ron Clements and John Musker (whose work include Aladdin and The Little Mermaid) turned to linguist and historian Professor Paul Geraghty, an adjunct associate professor with the university. Geraghty, who is an authority on Pacific languages including various dialects of the itaukei language, said working with the Disney team was a stimulating experience. He was part of an Oceanic Trust, a group of experts on Pacific culture that the Disney team formed to help produce a story that was authentic to Polynesian culture. “I was a member of that Trust and there were a number from Samoa and Tahiti and academics like Vilisoni Hereniko (a Rotuman academic on Pacific culture) and various cultural experts from Samoa and Tahiti,” he said. “This group was set up just as an advisory board for the production; just to make sure the story was accurate.” One of the first things the Trust identified was how a significant portion of the story resembled Samoan culture. “We had to correct that tendency because we didn’t want it to be identified to any particular Polynesian nation,” said Geraghty. “So we moved away from Samoa and concentrated on making it look like what any place in Western Polynesia would have looked like some 2000 years ago.” Clements and Musker also travelled with a team to Samoa, New Zealand, Hawaii, Tahiti and Fiji to gain a better understanding of the culture. When they arrived in Fiji, Geraghty said he took the directors to several locations, including the Suva settlement of Korova, along the Suva Harbour, because they are one of the few itaukei communities that still carve traditional canoes. The Korova people are originally from Moce Island, an island in the Lau Group, and are renown for their seafaring skills. Geraghty said the Korova settlers still make and sail traditional canoes.
“(Korova) represents a living instance of craft that were used by the west Polynesians and are still being continued in Fiji today,” he said. The camakau, one of these settlers, The knowledge from the Moce islanders at Korova inspired the designs of the canoes in Moana. Many other changes were made to make Moana more authentic to Pacific culture. One change was to the storyline. Geraghty said, initially, Moana had other siblings but their names were complicated. “So eventually, it was their decision to just make her a lonely child as we see in the movie,” he said. Geraghty said he was asked to help name a few of the characters and the islands. By then the main characters – Moana and the demi-God Maui, had already been named. “I suggested some of the obvious names like Moana’s father who was Tui, which means chief,” he said. “Her grandmother is Sina, which is a common Polynesian name for a woman.” For the island of Motunui, which is where Moana is from, he said he made two suggestions. “They could have Motunui or they could have Motulasi,” he shared. “Lasi is another Polynesian word, meaning big but they preferred Motunui.” Motu means island and nui means big. Geraghty said he had suggested Te Fiti for the island that Moana sails to because Fiti is an old Polynesian word that means ‘East’ and “it is in fact that it is the same as the name of Fiji.” “So in the movie, Moana was sailing to the east to discover the island in the east, therefore they called it Te Fiti.” Te means ‘the.’ Geraghty said he could not praise the directors enough for the efforts they took to ensure Polynesian culture was accurately reflected. “I think partly because Disney had been criticised before for not being historically accurate for a number of its animation features,” he said. “So they were very concerned that it be sympathetic to Polynesian cultures and be reflected accurately. “Overall, I loved the whole thing, especially Moana when she was young and she goes into the sea and was surrounded by water and she felt that this was her home,” shared Geraghty. w Written by
VENINA RAKAUTOGA www.wansolwaranews.com> 2017>APRIL
High achiever closer to dream by
Gold medalist Anthony Maelasi with his aunts, Ethel Suri, left, and Madeline Solo, right. aIMAGE: Ruci Vakamino
‘Take charge’ of your studies by
Former Wansolwara editor and Journalism Students Association president Sonal Shalveer Aujla proudly wore his grandfather’s turban at his graduation.
e serious about your studies because no one else but you can determine your future, says one of USP’s top graduates Anthony Maelasi. Maelasi. He was one of two students who received the gold medal award for the most outstanding graduate from USP’s School of Sociology. Maelasi said when he enrolled as a mature student, he was determined to succeed because he knew that excelling in his stud-
ies was something within his control. “If you want to be successful in education, all you got to do is believe in yourself,” he said. He added that the award made all his struggles worth the effort. The Solomon Islander became emotional as he reflected on his achievements. He said he was very humbled by the award and he owed all his achievements to God, who was his “most important source of strength.’’ Maelasi was in his early 40s when a close friend at the Christian NGO he was working for encouraged him to pursue further studies. When he was awarded the scholarship, he said he had no qualms leaving work because he knew he would return better equipped to help his community.
“Chances only come once, so (one should) make the most of it when you do get the chance,” he said. Maelasi’s aunt Ethel Suri, who accompanied him to his graduation at the Vodafone Arena, said she was very proud of her nephew for graduating and receiving top honours. She said his achievements make “all his families back home in the Solomons very proud.” This, she said, was especially so because he is the grandson of the paramount chief of Sulufou. Sulufou district is about 120km from Honiara. Maelasi said part of his plans for the future was to pursue a Masters Degree. But for now, it is “my time to give back to the country,” he said.a
HE had carved a successful career in the banking industry but abandoned it to pursue further studies because she believed it was the path to help more women. Shirleen Sahai, a former banker, graduated at the top of her class with a Bachelor of Arts degree, majoring in psychology and sociology. She was the recipient of three gold medal awards: for the Most Outstanding Bachelor of Arts graduate, the Most Outstanding Graduate with a Major in Psychology, and she was the joint-recipient for the Most Outstanding Graduate with a major in sociology. “One of my future goals is to work for organisations that help resolve women’s issues in the Pacific,” said Sahai. She said there are many issues that affect women in the Pacific and she felt that influencing social policy in this area would be an efficient way to make a real difference. Sahai is not a fan of online learning. She said it was one of her biggest challenges. A few students taking the online course felt the same. To overcome this, they would organise to review the course material and study together, she shared. “My learning experience here at USP was fantastic since I (made) lots of friends during my studies,” she said. Moreover, she said
she was blessed with a supportive family, many of whom are wonderful buddies. Her close her friend Mary Whippy accompanied her to the graduation. Sahai added that it was equally helpful that the teaching staff were approachable and very encouraging. This sentiment was echoed by Darrel Lal, who graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Engineering, in which he majored in electrical and electronics. He said the four-year programme was very enjoyable because of supportive teaching staff, many of whom were specialists in their areas and had practical experience. He said his final year was particularly memorable because the School of Engineering was better equipped. “The lack of resources in terms of equipment and hardware were some of the challenges that we had faced,” said Lal. “The school managed to get some and was able to reduce the challenges that we as engineering students had faced.” The school, which made headlines for the development of the first portable wave energy-harnessing device and the development of an electronic slate that taught children with visual impairment how to read Braille, opened its engineering laboratory last year. Lal said he was now fully employed as an engineer and was determined to be one of Fiji’s best in the field. a
DVC: Make the future better by
elieve that you can help make the future better than the present, graduates at the University of the South Pacific’s gold medal ceremony were told last month. This was the advice of USP’s deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Derrick Armstrong in his address to graduates before conferring 48 gold medals. “On this occasion where most of you will begin your professional journey, my advice to each and everyone of you is to believe the future can be better than the present and to believe in yourself to make that change,” he said. The DVC, who is one of the Vice-
Chancellor’s two deputies and whose portfolio covers research and innovation, congratulated the university’s top graduates for their hard work. He told them that they had demonstrated themselves to be “excellent ambassadors” of USP. And he added that their achievements were a reminder that anything was possible if a person had the right mindset and attitude. Tongan national Petina Ulakai Vi, who was among the top graduates, echoed similar sentiments. “If you believe in something, you should strive and work hard for it,” said the Bachelor of Education graduate. She scooped three gold medals: the School of Educa-
tion’s Most Outstanding Graduate, the Most Outstanding Graduate with a Major in Education, and the Most Outstanding Graduate with a Major in Literature and Language. Vi said even though the journey was challenging, especially as she had six siblings, she was determined to do well. She said a large part of her motivation to do well was to set a good example for her nieces and nephews. “I was trying to inspire them to think high and aim for university,” said Vi. A total of 1680 students graduated. This record number forced the university to split the graduation ceremony into morning and afternoon ceremonies. a
High achiever Petina Ulakai Vi with her family at the gold medal awards ceremony. aIMAGE: Ruci Vakamino
Graduates pose with friends and family after the morning graduation ceremony aIMAGES: Ruci Vakamino
Graduate Laisa Bulatale returns to her seat after accepting her degree. aIMAGE: Ruci Vakamino
Shirleen Sahai achieved the highest credits for graduates from the schools of sociology and psychology. She consequently scooped the Faculty of Arts, Law and Education’s top graduate award.
Engineering graduate Darrel Lal. aIMAGE: MILIKA TABUA
Time to celebrate ...Graduates, from left, Robert Varea, Sikiti Vakatalai and Sou Lunn Yee. aIMAGE: Ruci Vakamino
Proud pair ...Faculty of Business and Economics graduates Rusiate Baleasavu, left, and Alipate Navulavula aIMAGE: Ilisapeci Tinanisigabalavu www.wansolwaranews.com> 2017>APRIL
Journalism under fire
ARTS, LAW & EDUCATION www.fale.ac.fj
Press freedom in the Pacific has in recent years come under constant fire. The attacks - on its independence, its relevance and its credibility - come from its traditional opponents, but in some cases, from its very own. The consistent onslaught threatens the public’s trust and understanding of journalism’s role. In this Insight Report, final year journalism students explore the state of the region’s press and the influences that affect the quality of its journalism. by
School of Law Undergraduate
School of Education Undergraduate Certificate in Teaching (In-service) – Primary special In Country Project Certificate in Teaching (In-service) – Secondary special In Country Project Certificate in Non-Formal Education Diploma in Early Childhood Education and Care Diploma in Teaching (Secondary) special In Country Project Diploma in Educational Evaluation & Assessment Diploma in Educational Leadership and Change Diploma in Library/Information Studies Diploma in Multilingual Studies (Managed from the Emalus Campus, Vanuatu) Diploma in Special and Inclusive Education Bachelor of Arts Major in Education Graduate Certificate in Education (Also offered in French) – Major in Double Major: Education, Technology, Food & Nutrition Science – Minor: Education, Food & Nutrition Sciences – Minor: Information and Library Studies Graduate Certificate in School Leadership Bachelor of Arts & Graduate Certificate in Education Bachelor of Commerce and Graduate Certificate in Education Bachelor of Science & Graduate Certificate in Education
Bachelor of Education - In Service – – – –
Early Childhood and Care Education Primary Education Special and Inclusive Education Secondary Education (not be taken by those seeking employment in Fiji)
Postgraduate Professional Certificate in Education Policy and Planning - special In Country Programme Postgraduate Certificate in Tertiary Teaching Post Graduate Diploma in Education Master of Arts, Major in Education Master of Education PhD
Certificate in Law - special In Country Program Diploma in Prosecutions Bachelor of Laws (LLB) Bachelor of Arts – Major; Major in Double Major; and Minor In Law Bachelor of Arts & Bachelor of Laws (Combined Degrees) Bachelor of Commerce & Bachelor of Laws (Combined Degrees)
Postgraduate Professional Diploma in Legal Practice Professional Diploma in Legislative Drafting Postgraduate Diploma in Law Masters of Environmental Law Master of Laws PhD
School of Social Sciences Undergraduate Certificate in Policing Diploma in Social and Community Work Diploma in Police Management
Bachelor of Arts – Majors: History, Pacific Policing, Psychology, Social Work, Sociology – Major in Double Major: History, Pacific Policing, Psychology, Social Work, Sociology – Minor: History, Pacific Policing, Psychology, Social Work, Sociology
Postgraduate Postgraduate Certificate in Gender Studies Postgraduate Diploma in Arts: History, Psychology, Social Policy & Administration and Sociology Master of Arts: History, Psychology, Social Policy and Sociology PhD for all major programmes within the School
Oceania Centre for Arts, Culture and Pacific Studies Postgraduate
School of Language, Arts and Media
Postgraduate Diploma in Arts, Major in Pacific Studies. Master of Arts, Major in Pacific Studies PhD
Diploma in Pacific Journalism Diploma in Vernacular Language (Fijian) Diploma in Vernacular Language (Hindi)
Applications for admission to Undergraduate programmes should be addressed to: Admissions, Student Academic Services, Laucala Campus, The University of the South Pacific, Suva, Fiji. Tel: +679 3231444; email: email@example.com
Bachelor of Arts – Single Major: Literature; Literature and Language; Pacific Language Studies; Pacific Literature; Pacific Vernacular Language (Hindi & Fijian) – Major in Double Major: Journalism; Linguistics; Literature; Literature and Language; Pacific Language Studies; Pacific Literature; Pacific Vernacular Language (Hindi & Fijian) – Minor: Linguistics; Literature; Literature and Language; Pacific Language Studies; French; Chinese; Pacific Vernacular Language (Hindi & Fijian)
Postgraduate Postgraduate Diploma in Arts: Linguistics; Applied Linguistics and English Language Teaching; Literature; PhD
Postgraduate Studies Applications for admission to Postgraduate programmes at the Faculty should be addressed to: Temalesi Waqainabete, Administrative Assistant, Faculty of Arts, Law and Education, Laucala Campus, The University of the South Pacific, Suva, Fiji. Tel: +679 3232704; email: firstname.lastname@example.org Dean: Dr Akanisi Kedrayate, tel: +679 3232049; email: akanisi. email@example.com Associate Dean, Learning and Teaching: Salanieta Bakalevu, tel: +679 32 32372; email: firstname.lastname@example.org Associate Dean, Research & Internationalisation: Dr Cresantia Frances Koya-Vaka’uta; tel: +679 32 32296; email: email@example.com
T O WA R D S E X C E L L E N C E I N L E A R N I N G A N D K N O W L E D G E C R E AT I O N 14
LINDA FILIAI & ABISHEK CHAND
Media freedom in Fiji and the Pacific has been under pressure for decades and the situation is not improving, or perhaps becoming worse. In the 1970s and 1980s, some newly-independent Pacific Island states’ leaders wanted media to play a developmental role rather than an adversarial one that the leaders deemed negative and culturally insensitive. This debate has never been fully settled. The media’s preference for a Fourth Estate role to keep government accountable is the cause of continuing tensions. In 2010 the Fiji Government took matters into its own hands by introducing the punitive Media Industry Development Decree. The decree turned ethical breaches into criminal offences, with jail sentences and fines for offenders. The government, which had come to power in the 2006 coup, also abolished self-regulation and formed the Media Industry Development Authority. For the first time in Fiji, media regulation was in the hands of a government-appointed body. The Fiji Government headed by Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama won the 2014 elections, the first in eight years. Despite a strong election showing, government has not made any major changes to the media decree. It lifted fines and jail terms against journalists but maintains them against editors and publishers. The Government insisted that strict laws were necessary in a multi-ethnic society like Fiji, which had experienced four coups between 1987-2006 Some reports indicate journalism in the Pacific region is evolving to adapt to changing media legislation. A report by prominent Fiji journalist Ricardo Morris, published by Reuters this year, states that self-censorship is now prevalent in Fiji due to the media decree. The report, entitled “Watching Our Words: Perceptions of Self-Censorship and Media Freedom in Fiji” asserts that self-censorship equates to a more submissive media sector. In other parts of the region, the ever increasing tussle between the media and governments seems to be deepening as media organisations try to
Is media freedom a neccessary pillar for the realisation of a true democracy? . aCARTOONIST: MITIELI BALEIWAI
fulfil their watchdog role in the face of government threats to introduce stronger legislation. In Tonga, Prime Minister Akilisi Pohiva was accused of repressing the media when he recently described the state broadcaster as an “enemy of the government.” But Pohiva claims that he is in fact fighting a continuing attack on his government by members of the Tongan Broadcasting Commission aligned with the Tongan aristocracy, which used to rule the country. This underlines the complexity of media freedom and related issues in a Pacific context. A recent research paper that reviewed the state of the media in Melanesia in 2015 states that there was growing tension between government and media, with a shift towards stronger media laws, justified on the basis of national stability and social cohesion. The paper is published by SSGM at the Australian National University. Entitled, State of the Media in Four Melanesian Countries – Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu – in 2015, it is authored by the coordinator of USP Journalism, Dr Shailendra Singh. The paper argues that the growth of social media is a threat to the freedoms enjoyed by mainstream media. Governments are unable to cope with both mainstream
media and social media scrutiny. They are threatening to introduce laws that will affect both social media and mainstream media. This issue has been building up. According to the 2013 Regional State of the Media Report by PACMAS, media professionals in Papua New Guinea were feeling the effects of the increase in mobile penetration and social media usage. They had called for the Code of Ethics to be reviewed to better reflect current media trends and practices. Despite all these challenges, the region rates fairly well on international media ranking systems. According to the World Press Freedom Index, Fiji’s ranking improved from 149 in 2010 to 80 in 2016, which means media is ‘partly-free’. Tonga moved up seven places from the previous year to rank 37, whereas Samoa achieved the region’s best ranking at 29. In his 2016 World Press Freedom Day address, Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoie said Samoa’s ranking reflected their democratic processes at work. He added that it was testament to the value government placed on the work of the Fourth Estate. But sometimes international freedom ratings do not reflect the full picture on the ground.
This was pointed out by acting director for the Asia-Pacific International Federation of Journalists, Jane Worthington, in 2014. She stated that even though the Pacific did not have the same level of targeted killing of journalists as other regions, threats against media workers were common, and if not investigated, a culture of impunity could grow. This seems to be an ongoing problem in the Pacific. For example, the Pacific Freedom Forum, a media freedom advocacy body, highlighted a case in 2011 that saw a government minister visit the newsroom of Vanuatu Broadcasting and Television Corporation in an attempt to censor a story on his arrest and incarceration. Violence and intimidation persist in some other Pacific Island countries. Only last year, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) highlighted a police attack on a woman journalist during a student demonstration in Port Moresby. Pacific women journalists face certain disadvantages, in terms of representation and opportunity, which can be seen as another setback for the region’s media sector. This is evident in a UN report — Challenges and Aspirations of Women Journalists in Asia and the Pacific 2015. Media Association of Vanuatu President Evelyne Toa stat-
ed that the media in Vanuatu needed women with leadership skills. Likewise, the International Federation of Journalists report on Strengthening Media in the Pacific (YEAR) states that in PNG, some women are forced to go out of mainstream media and into public relations because there are better prospects for career advancement and with less office politics and, or discrimination. The IFJ recommends that newsrooms promote gender diversity to address the gender imbalance in leadership roles, but whether this is happening or not is unclear. Females also face sexual harassment while reporting. Some are targeted by political figures and end up in affairs, leading to allegations of skirt journalism, as is apparent in the Solomon Islands. This also has an impact on media credibility and affects media freedom. In this five-page Insight Report, we focus on the factors that affect media freedom, media credibility, and the quality of journalism in the Pacific region. a f This Insight Report is written and complied by JN301 International Journalism students under the supervision of course coordinator Dr Shailendra Singh and Wansolwara supervising-editor-in-chief, Irene Manarae. f
Fair representation is ‘critical’ T
he marginalisation of women in the them to address gender inequality by looking media is a threat to media freedom at how women are portrayed in the news and and the quality of journalism. This is a what issues are addressed to women. worldwide problem that is also manifested in “If you are talking about rural health, we look the Pacific, according to at whether a woman is beresearchers and commening interviewed from a tators. rural community for that The Fiji Global Mestory or not, we also look dia Monitoring Project at the barriers such as; are (GMMP) 2015 National women not speaking up or Report is the world’s longare they not being interest running and most exviewed,” she explained. tensive research on gender Bhagwan-Rolls pointed in the news media. It is an out that a lack of female initiative spearheaded by voices could be attributed the World Association for to improper training or an Christian Communication. over reliance on governOne of the global amment press releases. bassadors of GMMP and “One of the challenges executive director of that we face is that there is FemLINK Pacific, Sharon a tendency to rely on govBhagwan-Rolls says the ernment press releases by w BHAGWAN-ROLLS marginalisation of women the news media and quite happens in two ways; first often those that issue with the portrayal of womthem are males,” she said. en in the media, and, second, with the positions The gender imbalance of those in decisionof women in the newsroom and media organi- making positions, whether in government or sations. the private sector make the task of securing a “The GMMP report looks at the news media female source even more challenging. The Fiji content, the representation of women in media National Gender Policy states that the media and women’s participation as a journalist and should support women-led media initiatives, so there is also an analysis of bylines, who is including community radio, television, print reporting, presenting or broadcasting news,” media, and consider financial support for the said Bhagwan-Rolls. She said the report helps supply and importation of media equipment.
there is a tendency to rely on government press releases by the news media
Two female journalists out in the field in Daku Villlage last year. Majority of the journalists in Fiji are women. aPHOTOGRAPHER: RUCI VAKAMINO
Bhagwan-Rolls said there was hardly any progress, if any, in terms of progressing gender policy, communicating gender policy through other information distributed by Fiji government. “It is the government’s responsibility to communicate gender equality when they have made commitments to gender equality,” she said. Fiji Sun’s Managing Editor Digital Rosi Doviverata says women and girls were not underrepresented in the media and women were also increasingly given leadership roles in newsroom. “Here at The Fiji Sun, we actually need more males in the newsroom as there is an obvious imbalance with more women both in charge and as journalists. We have about nine males and 15 female journalists.” She said most women were leading the charge, which was increasingly prevalent in Fiji’s newsrooms today. She noted that there were also more female journalism graduates entering
the workforce. “I see my role as one of mentoring as most of our journalists are fresh out of DOVIVERATA university, most of them need as much help as they can get,” she said. “While the knowledge they have acquired at university is good, we have found that they need a lot of help when out in the field and dealing with people.” Fiji Broadcasting Corporation Deputy News Manager Ritika Pratap said women were no longer under-represented in the media, and have instead become more vocal and fierce in their style of reporting over the years. “FBC as a media company is setting a prime example, as women are holding key positions in the company, our West and North news bureau is being looked after by females and our program manager is also a female who looks after six of our radio stations.” a w Written by
SOCIAL media has revolutionised the compilation and consumption of news. Most newsrooms in the region are still grappling with the multiple challenges associated with social media as they try to harness the various platforms to help its journalism. Ironically, at one point, social media was considered an indirect threat to media freedom. Melanesian governments expressed the need to regulate social media because of the anonymity it allowed and the vitiriol that ensued in some forums. In a 2015 report, titled ‘State of the Media Review in four Melanesian Countries: Fiji, Papua 16
standards: Profession cops flak by
HE lack of professional standards in journalism and high-profile ethical breaches have made journalism the target of restrictive legislation. The failure to uphold professional standards such as accuracy, truthfulness, fairness, impartiality, and accountability threatens the public trust in journalism. Conversely, restrictive media laws can threaten media freedom and undermine their role as watchdogs. Notable ethical breaches include The Samoa Observer report of a suspected suicide involving a young transgender woman. The report included a picture of the youth’s corpse and refered to the deceased as a man. The unethical and callous report was criticised by journalists and NGOs in Samoa and the region. Another incident was when the Tongan press was blamed for the November 2006 prodemocracy march that deteriorated into a deadly riot in Nuku’alofa. Tongan publisher Kalafi Moala said the press was partly to blame because of its use of inflammatory language. He said criticising key figures without giving them the opportunity to respond to balance the story was in breach of fundamental journalism principles. This, and other ethical breaches by the Tongan media, according to Pacific Scoop, prompted the island kingdom’s Communications Minister ‘Eseta Fusitu‘a to call for a review of their laws, with a view of regulating the news media. In Fiji, the present administration has effectively regulated the news media and the result of this, they have argued,
Senior PNG journalist Belinda Kora presents her group’s discussion points at a human rights training conducted in Nadi. Regular trainings are necessary for the region’s journalists. aIMAGE: FILE PIC
is a more responsible media and a higher standard of journalism. However, the decline in professional standards in the media can be attributed to many factors. The lack of training is a key influence on the quality of journalism, notes academic and political analyst Professor Steven Ratuva. He is among those who, from more than 20 years of research and observation, says such structural factors should not be overlooked. The exit of experienced journalists from mainstream news and the fear of governmentimposed penalties, influences the quality of news.
Prof Ratuva says “the new breed of journalists needed a lot of intensive training in ethics and journalistic skills”. He adds that Fiji’s media laws instill fear in the minds of many journalists because of the anxiety about where the boundaries were. The fear of repercussions thus compels journalists to play on the “safe side,” he says. Overall, restrictive regulations are not the best solution to help improve media standards in the Pacific when the root causes stem from insufficient training, qualifications, experience and poor pay. Harsher penalties could pose
great danger to free speech, obstruct scrutiny of government and weaken the credibility of mainstream media, which could lead to bad governance – a longstanding problem in the region. He adds that governments should not impose legislation to instil fear in journalists but should have valid reasons for holding the media accountable for misreporting. Another repected academic, Professor Vijay Naidu, says there was a need for good editors, as well as skilled journalists. He points out that the news organisations or news managers should be committed towards the ethics of journalism. To do so would also mean looking after their journalists. Prof Naidu says improved salaries for journalists were important because this would help retain experienced journalists who were leaving for better paid jobs. The Fiji Times editor-in-chief Fred Wesley agrees. He says in-house training and support for training courses for journalists would help improve media standards. He reiterated the fact that it would take time to fill the void caused by the mass exodus of senior journalists in Fiji over the years. Media companies should invest in training for journalists not only on writing but ethics of journalism as well. A random survey of a few newsrooms shows that the starting annual salary for a cadet reporter is about $8,000. For a few section editors, their annual earnings is between $13,000-$15,000. A review of salaries or a transparent salary structure are viable solutions toward retaining seasoned journalists. a
Attacks persist by
Violence against journalists is an ongoing issue and is not new in the Pacific. The recent attack of Fiji Broadcasting Corporation’s reporter Praneeta Prakash has brought public awareness to an all too common workplace hazard for journalists. Journalists are regularly targeted when reporting on controversial issues, politics, court cases, social issues and corruption. In Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea, journalists have been attacked by politicians and the police, while in the Solomon Islands and Fiji, they face violence in times of political instability, such as coups and ethnic clashes. The late Sitiveni Moce, a Fijian news photographer, is a case in point. He was assaulted by members of the disciplinary forces whilst covering the coups in Fiji. While he resumed work after the attacks, he never fully recovered from the injuries he sustained. He eventually became paralysed and was bed-ridden for a few years before he died. He had attempted to seek justice and compensation, but this was unsuccessful because he had pursued it too late. In cases in which civillians attack journalists, a lack of understanding of journalists role is a factor.
Continued on Page 18
Social media by
New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu,’ the countries registered mixed assessments of social media use in news- RHEENEY rooms. Papua New Guinea journalist Alexander Rheeney says one of the major impacts of social media has been the public scrutiny of journalists’ work. “There is now a lot of pressure on journalists to produce stories of high standard, which ultimately means the PNG readership and viewers benefit in the long run,” he says. In response, media organisations created social media
and its impact on Pasifika journalists accounts to allow for an organised interaction with its growing online following, from the PNG populace and overseas. “The launching of the platforms means journalists have been asked to create products specifically for that particular audience,” says Rheeney. Fijian Media Association general secretary Stanley Simpson says social media has helped journalists find news and also identify credible sources. “Some of the information that the media then reports is usually found first on social media,” he says. Online journalist Lice Movono agrees. She says it has
in fact completely changed the way newsrooms work. “It has made us more responsive,” she explains. “I think that as a MOVONO media, we’re more responsive to our different audiences. We are a lot more in-tune with who our audience is. The online department makes sure we are in touch with the different kinds of people that consume the news.” There is no denying that the increasing online population, especially among the younger generations, will continue to grow with increased coverage of mobile phone technology.
This fact was enough to persuade veteran Solomon Island journalist Ednal Palmer to start his very own online news publication. Palmer, a former chief-ofstaff of a national newspaper, publishes news on his Facebook Page ‘Solomon FreshBeat Online’. “It is (more) effective than traditional media or newspapers given that people can respond immediately to stories that are posted online,” he says. “Unlike the newspapers, (our online readers) can drop a comment and their views after reading a news story. This gives timeliness in discussions as well as (makes it more) en-
gaging.” There are negative aspects to consider as well, cautions Simpson. A major one is the proliferation HAWKINS of fake news on social media. This phenomenon of fake news reflects the public’s vulnerability and how they readily believe and circulate whatever is published in these forums. Simpson reasons that fake news or false reports is not new. It simply underlines the need for journalists to do their job, he says. “What you need to do is focus on the key issues and the
important issues that face your country or your job as a journalist,” says Simpson. However, multi-media journalist Koroi Hawkins is not as dissmisive. He says fake news is a real threat in the region. “Fake news or propaganda by governments is a very real threat in the region and the way to deal with that, and with any fake news for that matter, comes back to basic journalism, that is, cross-checking reports with multiple sources and getting it from the horse’s mouth,” says Hawkins. “The latter, I must admit, is getting harder and harder to do in the region.” a
Attacks persist u
From Page 17
The public’s general misunderstanding of the role the news media plays in a democracy creates unnecessary mistrust, says former Post Courier editor Alexander Rheeney. Rheeney, who is the president of Papua New Guinea’s Media Council, says another reason for the violence is when individuals or organisations seek to avoid scrutiny. Solomon Islands veteran journalist Robert Iroga agrees. He says in his experience, most of the violence was a result of journalists asking the tough “accountability” questions. Pacific Freedom Forum (PFF) editor Jason Brown says money and corruption are usually the reasons. The threats of violence varies from one country to another. Brown says West Papua is the most dangerous becuase journalists have been murdered, abducted, tortured, and arbitrarily arrested and imprisoned. “There is a long-standing ban on foreign journalists freely accessing West Papua although this has improved lately, with Jakarta claiming open access,” he says. “Assaults have also been seen in Solomon Islands, and Vanuatu and death threats have been made against journalists in New Caledonia.” Violence in Polynesian countries are less in terms of frequency. In Samoa, the most notable case was in the 1990s, when the office of the country’s only daily newspaper, was burnt to the ground. In French Polynesia, the most highprofile case was that of Jean-Pascal Couraud, a journalist who disappeared about 20 years ago. He had previously exposed high level corruption and had threatened to expose more about those in power. “To this day, documents relating to his case are still locked away in France, under order of a tribunal that rules on issues of national security when it comes to releasing official information,” explained Brown. “An ongoing court case continues to investigate witness testimony that he was abducted, water tortured at sea, then chained to four concrete blocks and dropped into ocean 5,000 metres deep.” Rheeney says the increasing violence underlines the need for greater solidarity among journalists. Individual newsrooms must work to ensure that their staff’s safety is paramount at all times, he says. He adds that simultaneous effort must be injected into raising awareness on the important work journalists do. Brown, whose organisation advocates for a free press, says PFF intends to improve their capabilities in these respects. “At the moment, our main focus is on Indonesia which is hosting World Press Freedom Day and we are calling on them to live up to their promise to address historic cases of violence against journalists,” he said. All media should stand in solidarity and call to strengthen the judicial systems worldwide with a key focus on protecting freedom of expression and the safety of the journalists. a 18
Is Pacific media self-censoring?
News on West Papua critical for struggle
& AVNEEL ABHISHAY
RE journalists in the region practising self-censorship? According to research on media freedom conducted by a former news magazine publisher, Ricardo Morris, a high level of self-censorship was practised by many of Fiji’s journalists. Some of his peers have accepted the report, but several have disputed aspects of it. Former chief executive of Fiji Television Limited, Geoffrey Smith, who was a respondent in Morris’ research, did not hesitate to say journalists, including some senior reporters, practised selfcensorship to some extent. “It is true to some degree, in the sense that basically it is safe journalism now,” said Smith “In a normal and free media environment, I wouldn’t have to say that, but Fiji is not normal and the Pacific is not normal in many different ways,” he said. Fijian Media Association’s Stanley Simpson, who was also a respondent in Morris’ survey, said the Fiji media began to report more freely after the 2014 General Election. But Communications Fiji Limited news director Vijay Narayan says his team has always reported freely. Ian Jackson, CFL’s general manager, says self-censorship was possibly happening in other newsrooms. “Maybe some media organisations don’t have what it takes to ask hard questions that’s why they self-censor,” he says. “We ask the hard questions and we are not intimidated by anybody.” He adds that journalists’ fear of being penalised by the decree was baseless because there were other laws that can be invoked to punish unethical reporting. “Since 2006 when the Media Decree came up, no one has used the decree in a punitive fashion against the media,” he said. “The only punitive actions taken against any media organisation has actually gone through the court; the point being that the so-called draconian law or what people fear, already exists
FBC deputy news director Edwin Nand, left, was one of five newsroom leaders who shared the lessons learnt during their coverage of TC Winston at a Wansolwara Toks forum. aIMAGE: FILE PIC
within the legal system.” Unlike Smith and Simpson, Narayan says he chose not to take part in Morris’ survey because reports of previous surveys often did not reflect their views. Morris, in his report, states that many of the journalists he asked to take part in the survey declined and were only willing to share their views off-the-record. Smith says this was exactly the kind of self-censorship that prevails. He said it was indicative of the fear among reporters when it came to delicate issues “There is a lot of issues happening out there but because of the sheer hesitation or fear around all those sensitive issues even the seasoned journalists are hesitant,” said Smith. “It’s unfortunate that this is happening, and I would like to see the day that journalists can report freely again.” Smith adds that even experienced reporters were guilty of practising self-censorship. “If they cover an issue, there will be a watered-down version of the issue,” he said. Simpson was perplexed about the reported reluctance of journalists to speak on-the-record. “I thought it was for his research so I am not sure why people would not go on record,” he said. “The other thing
to it was that it dealt with a lot of sensitive issues; it asked about wages; it asked about more than just views.” Smith, who now works as a regional television consultant, says he was somewhat not surprised because it was exactly the kind of self-censorship that prevails. He says self-censorship by veteran journalists could influence the younger journalists to lose confidence in reporting certain types of news. “There’s a lot of issues happening out there but because of the sheer hesitation or fear around some of those sensitive issues, even the senior journalists are afraid that if they cover the issue, it will be a watered-down version of the real issue,” he adds. Morris, who has since left journalism for a communications job with an NGO, says journalists have opted to practise ‘safe journalism’ instead by taking a ‘who-said-what’ approach to news coverage.a
Mistrust of news media on the rise by
THE public is increasingly finding traditional news media less trustworthy, according to a global survey. This was one of the findings in the recent Edelman Trust Barometer report presented at the World Economic Forum in Davos earlier in the year. The annual survey, which measures global trust levels of media, governments, businesses and NGOs, highlights that “for the fifth consecutive year, search engines (63 per cent) and traditional media (58 per cent) remain the two most trusted sources for general news and information.” “Online media jumped 8 points to 53 per cent and is now the third most trusted source, followed by owned media, which is up 3 points
to 46 per cent and social media (44 per cent),” according to the report. When explaining the survey in an article of The Financial Times, the public relations wizard who formulated the barometer, Richard Edelman, said the public now considered the news media as part of the elite. This, he said, led to “proclivity for self-referential media and reliance on peers.” In Fiji’s case, traditional media was largely favoured by the Fijian public in the past. That has since changed and more Fijians are sourcing their news from social media platforms. The constant bashing of the news media by leaders, especially the present administration, is bound to have an impact on the public’s faith
in the media. Senior journalist Stanley Simpson says the key lesson for all news consumers is to be critical of all information consumed at all times – whether it is from the news media, the government or social media. “People will individually work out who is serving them best,” he says, “and this is the beauty of media freedom and having a competitive media industry.” Former journalist Alumeci Nakeke says social media allows the public to either support or denounce their respect for journalists and newsrooms whom they feel are failing in their work. This is evident in the discourses online, says Nakeke, who worked in mainstream media for more than 10 years before joining a non-profit
communications organisation. “The standard has dropped and is totally different from what it used to be in the sense that journalists’ stories are not well researched and shallow,” she says. “I do not think that the public is well informed at all because media organisations are sitting on the fence afraid to touch the fire,” she adds. News critic and social media enthusiast Dr Isireli Komaitotoya agrees. Komaitotoya, who converses as Leli Darling on Facebook and has more than a thousand followers, says it is obvious from the news coverage over recent years that Fiji’s media is easily influenced. He says he fears that “the sense of distrust,” once sown, would take years to undo.a
EDIA access to West Papua, where more than half a million of its indigenous people have reportedly been killed, remains restricted. News coverage of the reported genocide is extremely difficult because of restrictions on local and foreign media. Many West Papuan journalists have also died in their effort to tell the truth about the killings that largely occur in the remote rural areas. This makes news coverage of the atrocities in the Indonesia-occupied land extremely difficult. West Papuan Independence leader Benny Wenda, in an online interview, said the restrictions allow for the depth of the atrocities to remain silenced. And even if access was granted, “journalists cannot go freely to report on politics in West Papua,” he said. “They will get followed and questioned by Indonesian intelligence and West Papuans will suffer intimidation and threats if they speak to journalists.” Senior Papua New Guinea journalist Alexendar Rheeney says West Papua’s struggle of more than 50 years has only been given prominence in the region’s mainstream media in recent years. Less than 10 years ago, the mainstream news media – in neighbouring countries like Fiji, Australia and New Zea-
West Papuan Independence leader Benny Wenda, third from right, holds the West Papuan flag with Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare during his visit last year. The Solomons is one of the Melanesian countries that supports fellow Melanesians of West Papua in their struggle.. aIMAGE: bennywenda.org
land, ignored the situation in West Papua. It was effectively a media black hole. Rheeney says it is more challenging for Pacific journalists whose governments recognise the sovereignty Indonesia has over West Papua. “The media in PNG has reported on West Papua and all the human rights abuses, but not as much as we would want it to despite the fact that PNG and West Papua share a land order,” he says. The increasing coverage by Pacific news media should be commended, says former regional journalist and aca-
demic Professor David Robie. Robie, who was instrumental in keeping West Papua in the forefront by constantly publishing news of its struggle for more than three decades, says it is a huge relief that at least the Pacific was “finally waking up to the issue of West Papua.” “This an issue of Melanesian solidarity, Pacific solidarity an issue of self-determination and the Pacific countries that got independence on a plate ought to be telling this story,” he says. Pacific Freedom Forum editor Jason Brown says it is an utter disgrace that some in mainstream media publish or
broadcast stories on wars from other regions and “not in our own backyards.” “In recent years, RNZI (Radio New Zealand International) has done a much better job of covering West Papua,” he says. “The recent closure of shortwave services by Radio Australia, however, means that the region has lost reliable access to news on West Papua from that source.” Rheeney warns that the region cannot afford to fail fellow Melanesians of West Papua. He says to do so would be to doom the Pacific region to more instability. “If a prosperous Pacific re-
gion is to be ensured, the issue of West Papua must be addressed,” he says. “As journalists we can no longer continue to turn a blind eye on all the human rights abuses that is happening. “The PNG Government can no longer turn a blind eye on what is happening on the other side of the boarder.” Robie adds that informed political decisions cannot be reached if the media is not allowed to report freely on West Papua. He says this lesson can easily be drawn from East-Timor’s road to independence. East Timor, which was also occupied by Indonesia secured its independence after a handful of journalists exposed the human rights violations through videos, especially after the Santa Cruz massacre in 1991. Indonesia’s control rapidly fell apart after international pressure. “In-depth and timely media coverage will save lives as West Papua lurches towards independence, which will come eventually, no matter how hard Jakarta tries to block this,” says Robie. Rheeney adds that Pacific journalists should continue to report on the issue, to keep the struggle in the news so that lasting solutions are found sooner and further bloodshed is prevented.a
Is skirt journalism a threat in the Solomons? by
CHRISNRITA AUMANU & ALLEN WAITARA
There are some concerns in the Solomon Islands about female journalists allegedly trading sex - and with it their integrity and independence for favours from leaders. Several reliable sources have confirmed to Wansolwara reporters about alleged liaisons between female journalists and some members of Parliament (MPs). This has led to whispers of skirt journalism, a reference to sexual liaisons between female journalists and their news sources. Wansolwara spoke to both female and male journalists and other sources in the know. These sources, who did not want be identified, said there have been several intimate liaisons between journalists and senior government representatives in the past five years, One involved a prominent female journalist from a promi-
nent newspaper. This relationship resulted in the MP paying for the reporter’s rent. A female journalist, now in public relations, was caught with an MP from Malaita by a Parliament employee who went to use the Parliament lavatory. This reporter first heard about this incident from secondary sources. She then approached the Parliament employee, who confirmed the incident to her. Another female journalist had an affair with a Government leader from Malaita. Sources reveal this relationship ended when the female journalist found out the MP was seeing another civil servant. In February 2017, flirty text messages were sent to a female journalist by an MP. The messages were shown to this reporter on the condition that no names, nor details of the messages would be reported. The Vice President of
Media Association Solomon Islands (MASI), Josephine Teakeni, was aware of the incidents relayed to her. “At public relations events, they might have a few drinks, negotiate for favours, resulting in an ongoing love affair or de-facto relationship,” she said. Ashley Wickham, a veteran journalist, says he first heard of skirt journalism in Fiji in the 1990s involving a prime minister. The Solomon Star editor Ofani Eremae says he knew one reporter whose lifestyle was supported by an MP. Another involved a public relations officer, who was a journalist when the relationship began. “Yes, there are sexual relationships between certain MPs and female reporters, but the primary reason is financial favours rather than obtain information,“ he said. However, skirt journalism cannot be totally ruled out because journalists’ pay is very
low. “You and I know well that reporters are not paid well while MPs have a lot of money. “For a female reporter who struggles daily, having a readily available financial source is the most simple solution,” he said. The 2013 PACMAS report on the Solomon Islands media states that the minimum wage is less than USD$10 (SBD $78) per day. Another cause could be the lack of training in ethics. Island Sun newspaper editor Priestley Habru said journalists either choose to forget ethics or have not been through any formal training. “By befriending and getting too close to a ‘source’, one is crossing the line of ethical standards,” he explained. The 2013 PACMAS report on Solomon Islands Media states that 50 per cent of the journalists do not have higher qualification. Most join newsrooms immediately after completing high school. The interviewees
agreed that too many relationships between MPs and journalists could affect the media’s integrity and the quality of journalism. According to Teakeni, relationships with MPs and officials should have boundaries. Eremae agrees. “The danger is it lowers the value of news and public trust,” he said. With regards to addressing the situation, Eremae encouraged news editors to keep an eye on their reporters. On his part, Habru emphasised that MASI needed to ensure its Code of Ethics was strengthened to punish offending journalists and their organisations. Vice President for MASI Teakeni says there is a Women’s Wing in MASI that would assist female reporters. Teakeni says there should be more empowerment programs for women in the media, to help them make informed choices. a
Concern over ‘isolated’ Nukefetau minority by
Tuvalu has been applauded for upholding efforts in improving the protection of human rights at all levels, however there are human rights violations happening in its own which have gone largely unreported. The national media and other human rights institutions have failed to do their part in reporting on the minority group referred to as ‘Nukufetau B’. Traditional customs and social patterns perpetuated discrimination against this minority group have caused a great emotional suffering among members of ‘Nukufetau B’ as they were stripped off some of their basic rights as a result of political and community turmoil. The minority group is a result of a standstill between two Nukufetau Island members of parliament following the removal in 2010 of then Prime Minister Maatia Toafa in a vote of no confidence. In the resulting chaos the Nukufetau Island community petitioned for one of their elected members to parliament, the late Hon Lotoala Metia, to vacate his seat. Meita was removed from parliament and the minority group was banned from participating in all community activities. During the post Tropical Cyclone Pam recovery, the rights of these people to relief items were shattered as the distribution of items were given to island communities in Tuvalu to distribute to members of their community. Since this minority is no longer part of the Nukufetau Island Community they did not get anything from the community. Their rights to vote under the Nukufetau Island constituency during the 2015 General Election were also violated and opposed by the community. These incidents were never reported by local media which is exclusively owned by the government. It has been ignored in all human rights reports since 2010. A recent US State Department’s Human Rights report for
Women and children of Nukufetau about one month after Cyclone Pam. aPHOTO: UNDP Tuvalu in 2016 also failed to report on these matters. The promotion and protection of human rights of every Tuvaluans is embedded in its 1986 Constitution, which also recognised the importance of culture and traditions. The culture of Tuvalu is founded on love and unity. The discourse on human rights must consider the principles on which the Tuvaluan society is founded, including religious, cultural and traditional values. It is important for the state and its people to continue to work towards realising basic fundamental rights and freedoms. The state has the duty to recognise the rights of the people. The members of
Nukufetau need to be informed of their rights so that they can speak out. Tuvalu also need to have a national Human Rights institutions where people can raise their human rights issues. There is a need for regional and international assistance for the provision of training Tuvalu citizens on human rights issues so people understands their rights and stand up to authorities because after all their collective voice a very powerful in making changes. In addition media need to become independent and report on sensitive issues especially human rights violations. People need to take responsibility and speak up for their rights. a
Sports A cautionary tale on mentors by
I write this solely for the benefit of other USP students in Laucala, both as potential peer mentors and those who seek to be mentored. This in itself is merely a personal perception that sheds some light on the new financial regulations, currently throwing a shadow on USP’s commitment towards regional cooperation, integration and equality. The Laucala Campus has always been a beacon of hope for students in the 14 USP member countries to achieve more in their academic careers. There are many campus initiatives to help students and the student learning support (SLS) group is one of them. However, Fiji’s laws have tightened the laws on permits and prevents foreigners with a student permit to be paid for any labour whilst in the country. The Peer Mentoring will be used as the example here, as the SLS hubs for the three USP faculties and peer mentoring has always been proven to help students through the toughest steps of their academic career. Due to these new regulations, regional students who have been nominated by their Course Coordinators as PASS Leaders and Senior Mentors, will no longer have the opportunity to be one, as they cannot be rewarded financially for their efforts in helping other students. But more than the monetary aspect, these potential mentors are missing out on the prospect of gaining skills on mentoring, leadership and confidence that would last a lifetime. Mentees also lose out because they are not taught by the best. If a foreigner in Fiji topped the class, that student would not be able to render the services needed, in accordance with the new regulations. Therefore, even though Fiji has to be respected for their own rights in passing their laws as they see fit, this does pose a cautionary tale for the university’s regional students. a
Good or bad: Scheme allows for scholarship increase by
THE Solomon Islands Government has increased the number of tertiary scholarships to 1355 this year. This is an increase of 155 scholarships that underlines the government’s commitment to education. But, while it is a wonderful development, questions about sustainability and how scholarships are awarded need to be posed. That’s because a significant number of scholarship recipients are appointed by Members of Parliament. This occured in 2015 when Parliament introduced the Special Scholarship Entitlement scheme which allowed each member to grant four scholarships. The scheme means more stu20
dents get a chance to further their education, and all nine provinces have scholarship recipients. However, every year Solomon Island students face many challenges. The National Training Unit (NTU) within the Ministry of Education is packed to full capacity every year, resulting in total chaos when it comes to the administration of scholarships at the beginning of each year. There is no proper send-off, as administrating the departure of students is conducted very late. This results in students leaving for Fiji late. The consequences of this is paramount because a majority of students miss out on the university’s orientation programme. The orientation is crucial for
first year students. Late arrivals also result in poor academic performance because students need ample time to adjust to the new learning environment. With more scholarships, allowances are a concern given the problem of consistent late payments in the past. The system is clearly facing many challenges and this new scheme compounds these problems. While the government’s investment in education is admirable, the selection process must be transparent. The special scholarship entitlement from the members of parliament must be awarded on merit and not handpicked. This practice creates loopholes for corruption, nepotism and the very popular wantok system. Hand picking awar-
dees through corrupt practices is defeating the purpose of being awarded a scholarship. In the longer term, should the special scholarship entitlement be corrupted and abused, then it will diminish the essence and values of being awarded a scholarship. Responsible authorities must ensure that all applicants must be eligible to challenge a scholarship with the required GPA and the right priority programme. The process must be transparent and vice-versa. Students on Government scholarships must be answerable to the government. There must be tough measures in place and a good monitoring system to evaluate student’s performance. They must be held responsible for their poor
performance. This is important because the Government pays more than FJ$1.3million every month on student allowances alone, therefore the government must put in place a proper monitoring system to assess this investment at the end of each year. The scholarship programme for the Solomon Islands Government must be strengthened, to avoid corruption, which the country is trying to combat. The country will rely on these academics; therefore corruption must be eradicated from the system at this level. It is recommended the Ministry of Education should review the current policies in regards to scholarships and furthermore establish a selection process without political interference. a
Baber targets ‘bad habits’ by
HIGH tackles are usually the result of bad habit rather than malice, says Vodafone Fiji 7s coach Gareth Baber. He made the remark in response to questions before the Hong Kong 7s about Fiji’s high number of high tackle infringements in the 2016/2017 HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series. Fiji was at the top as the team with the most yellow cards when this story was written in March. Fiji had 17 yellow cards. followed by NZ 15 and Samoa 14. Baber said it should be noted that not all of the yellow cards were for high tackles. “In Fiji, we have a tendency to tackle high,” he said. “In my mind it comes from the way the game is played at a younger age.” He said it would take some time for the boys to unlearn this bad habit. “I’m trying to change the way they think about tackles,” he said. “And that does take some time. I’m confident and I’m seeing developments already in some of the players.”
At theVancouver 7s tournament, Fiji drew one yellow card and it was not for a high tackle. Baber said the players need to learn that lower tackles are more efficient. “We need to be smarter in the way that we do make our tackles,” he said. “To me lower tackles are more effective anyway; they hold momentum quicker than if you go high.” Meanwhile, Fiji’s international rugby union referee James Bolabiu said high tackles have always been illegal. Any tackle that is above the shoulder line is a high tackle. “So what World Rugby has come up with lately is for referees to emphasise on those particular laws so that it eliminates players getting serious injury,” said Bolabiu. “There is no change in law. It’s just the implementation by the referees.” Baber said World Rugby had briefed them on their stance concerning high tackles.
National 7s coach Gareth Baber presents the Best Find of the Tournament Award to Terio Tamani of Tabadamu. aPHOTOGRAPHER: VILIMAINA NAQELEVUKI
Nanovu calls for more women boxers by
Lack of public awareness and the traditional belief that boxing is not a sport for women are obstacles that restrict the sport’s growth, says veteran boxer Oscar Nanovu. Nanovu, an amatuer boxing coach, says the traditional mindsets of people need to change from believing that boxing is a sport for males only. There are only six female boxers registered with the Fiji Amateur Boxing Associ-
ation, confirmed association president Manasa Baravilala . Another coach, Nicholas Fuata, said the neglible uptake could also be due to a lack of awareness. “There is probably not much awareness or publicity for women boxers and also, promoters might opt for male boxers because of the monetary returns,” he said. Mable Talei, a Fijian boxer registered with the association, said women need to have passion for the sport if are to take it up competi-
tively. “Boxing should come from within you; it’s a hard training to deal with and as for most women in Fiji, they are not interested in hard training,” she said. Talei, who is now based in the United States, has competed in the Pacific Games twice. Nanovu said it was unfortunate that Talei could not continue to box. He said this was because there were no other registered female boxers for her to fight.
Vanuatu Football needs accountability
hen it comes to sport disciplines, soccer is number one in Vanuatu. It is well-loved and played throughout the archipelago. In the Oceania Region, Vanuatu is a contender and a powerhouse. However recent times have seen inconsistent performances at the international and club levels of Oceania football. The lack of consistent development programs continues to thwart the country’s potential. Most recently the U-17 side were underwhelming at the recent World Cup Qualifying round in Tahiti. Raymond Nasse, a sports reporter for the Vanuatu Daily Post, revealed that most of the U-17 players were selected from the Northern Region Academy with very few from Port Vila. This regional was created by the Vanuatu Football Federation’s (VFF) decision to suspend development programs in
the Central and Southern football regions to concentrate on the U-20 team. Recent results suggest this move was a poor decision and the VFF have drawn criticism for a failure to commit to development. They are short sighted in concentrating on tournaments and ignoring the importance of the development programs. This is not healthy for Vanuatu football. Nasse pointed out that the defeats in the Nations Cup were blamed on the poor facilities in Papua New Guinea. However, it fails to identify the facts that the team was not tactically strong and that it had not prepared well for the event. While other countries in the Pacific like Fiji, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands focused heavily on their preparations in playing friendly matches and bringing techni-
cal experts from the most football developed nations-Vanuatu took their preparations lightly. If Vanuatu is serious about its football then something needs to be rectified. The VFF needs to re-look at its vision and mission. Networking is important. It has to foster ties with its major stakeholders, the Vanuatu Government, non-government organisations, business community, grassroots and the Oceania Football Confederation. FIFA President Gianni Infantion said, “it is essential that a board spectrum of stakeholders participate in our discussion of this important topic-and that we at FIFA are optimally informed and supported as we look to the future.” They need to work with communities and the Ministry of Education to ensure that the development can be implemented effectively. Moreover, VFF needs to strengthen
both the Northern Region Academy and the Teouma Academy. Links should be made with football academies in the Oceania region, Australia, Asia and Europe to enable individual to taste the experience of football in other countries. While home grown professionals should not be undermined, it would be vital to recruit foreign coaches and technical advisers because of their vast knowledge and experiences. Last minute preparations should not be permitted. All in All, football in Vanuatu has huge potential. Vanuatu has an abundance of young talented and skills players. It could achieve maximum benefits if it is managed and coordinated well. The Vanuatu Football Federation needs to take the leading role.
Women can coach, says rugby veteran by
Army player makes a break during the semi-final match against New Net Yasawa. aPHOTO: VILIMAINA NAQELEVUKI
COACHING 7s rugby players should not only be a man’s domain, says Elenoa Kunatuba, a former national rep-turned coach. “I want to show other women that we’re also capable of coaching,” she said. Kunatuba is one of the founding members of women’s rugby. She was among the women rugby players who took part in the Marist 7s tournament last month. She said she never planned to be a coach until she toured 12 years ago as a member of the national women’s team to Tonga. “I was not happy with the way we were being coached” she recalled.
Police White reserves watch the Shield fiinal as they warm up on the side. aPHOTOS: Vilimaina Naqelevuki
“Then I was excited to take up coaching, taking courses and event to the extent of just being a referee to be well versed with rugby.” Kunatuba coached the women’s rugby team Marist Seahawks. Her team reached the finals to play against Striders. Seahawks lost 0-20. National rep Rusila Nagasau, who also plays for the Marist Seahawks, said the team was fortunate to have Kunatuba as their coach because she was more approachable. “We feel comfortable to learn from her and viceversa,” she said. She said it was difficult at times to talk to male coaches. “To have a female coach is an advantage (because) she understands us indi-
vidually,” said Nagasau. “If she notices our weakness, she will be straightforward with us.” Kunatuba said she planned to continue advancing her coaching career, and has not crossed-off the possibility of coaching a men’s team. Meanwhile, Nagasau left with the Fijian team for Japan where the fourth leg of the women’s rugby series will be played. Pool matches will begin on April 22. The national side has shown consistent improvement, regularly making the quarter finals. They need to finish in the top four of the 2016/2017 HSBC series in order to automatically qualify for next year’s Rugby World Cup.
Ravisa is top scorer National rugby player Timaima Ravisa scored 39 points for her Striders Club to win the women’s top try scorer of the Fiji Bitter Marist 7s last month. She was also a pivotal utility back when Striders walloped Marist Seahawks 2 to win the Tribe Women’s final 24-0. Ravisa said their win was largely because they ensured they got their fundamentals right. Although Striders entered as the defending champions, she said “we never underestimated any team we played against.” “We treated each game as a final,” said Ravisa. The Savusavu lass, who was has been a Fijiana for the past five years, said the two-day Marist 7s tournament was tough and a good part of her preparation for the next leg of the HSBC World Sevens Series. “This is not the end of it for my training,” she said. “After this, I’ve only got Sunday as a break and then I am back in the gym on Monday.”
Tabadamu retains title Reports by
Defending champion Tabadamu defeated Army Green II 24-14 to win the 41st Fiji Bitter Marist Sevens Cup final. Tabadamu playmaker Terio Tamani, who was selected as the Find of the Tournament, said the final was a tough battle and he was proud they were successful in defending their title. The 21-year-old said he was gunning for a spot in the national sevens team, and would continue to work towards his dream. National 7s coach Gareth Baber was among the country’s top rugby people who watched the final. The Kadavu lad scored the team’s first try. Tabadamu led by former national rep Jone Vota, scored four tries to Army Green’s two. The win makes it Tabadamu’s third consecutive win at the Marist 7s. National rep Eminoni Nasilasila, who played for Coastline Ratu Filise, scored eight tries to win the tournament’s top try scorer. Tabadamu’s Leo Naikasau was awarded the Best and Fairest Player. The annual Marist 7s tournament this year attracted 80 teams, eight more than the previous year. The two-day tournament at the ANZ Stadium attracted hundreds of people,
including high school rugby fans. One of the high school students was Tui Tokaibai who said he was not disappointed at the level of rugby displayed. He said the rugby was exhilarating, and it was awesome to watch so many local and expe-
rienced players up close. However, one rugby fan Jone Vatukatakata said he found this year’s tournament a bit disappointing because not many of the national players featured. He said he felt the level of rugby had somewhat dropped
because there were not many outstanding new rugby players. Vatukatakata added it would be helpful if organisers could ensure that the identity of rugby players could be included when they are shown on the stadium screens.
A player locks on in a tackle during the Wadigi vs Tabadamu game.
Top try scorer Timaima Ravisa talks to Wansolwara
A member of New Net Yasawa looks for a gap in the defence. aPHOTOS: Vilimaina Naqelevuki
Fiji Bitter Marist 7's find Tabadamu's Terio Tamani on the attack. aPHOTO: Vilimani Naqelevuki
Fiji 7's Rep Isake Katonibau slides in for a try. aPHOTOGRAPHER: Vilimaina Naqelevuki
Police White Shield Winners for the Fiji Bitter Marist 7’s. aPHOTOS: Vilimaina Naqelevuki
Striders retain the Tribe Women’s Title of the Fiji Bitter Marist Rugby 7s. aPHOTO: Vilimaina Naqelevuki
Ratu Filise vs Suva Stallions.
A Police White warms up before the contest for the Shield. www.wansolwaranews.com> 2017>APRIL
Coach says many still ignorant and demean female rugby players
Accept women ruggers by
PEOPLE should abandon the archaic belief that rugby is not a sport for women, says sevens rugby coach and player Elenoa Kunatuba. Kunatuba said although the public’s attitude toward women rugby players had greatly improved, there were still many who remained ignorant and continued to demean them. “Women’s rugby is accepted in the international arena and is now an Olympic sport,” she reasoned. “Just because we play rugby everybody stereotypes it as we’re gay,” she said. “It is frustrating.” said the former rugby administrator. She made the comment when asked to opine on research into women’s rugby prior to the 2016 Rio Olympics. The research was conducted by USP academic Yoko Kanemasu and Gyozo Molnar, of the University of Worcester. Their report was in a journal article, titled Double-trouble: Negotiating Gender and Sexuality in Post-colonial Women’s Rugby in Fijii. International Review for the Sociology of Sport. Kunatuba said the research, which was conducted in 2015 before the women’s sterling performance at the Olympic Games, was an accurate reflection of how the wider public treated women rugby players. “We try not to let it affect us one bit,” she said. She was referring to the demeaning remarks they com-
Fijiana Rusila Nagasau ploughs ahead at the Rio Olympics. aFILE PHOTO: IAN MUIR/SUPPLIED BY: FRU monly experienced whenever they trained or played at a tournament. The research also revealed that a few of the young wom-
en were disowned by their families because their playing was considered shameful, especially because of the misconception that the women
who played the sport were homosexuals. She said they had few supporters then and were grateful for whatever support they were given. She said the
organisers of the Marist 7s tournament was one of their long-standing supporters. “Way back KUNATUBA Marist 7s was the only tournament that women could take part in and slowly Coral Coast and Uprising 7’s came in,” said Kunatuba.” She said support for women’s rugby had improved since the Rio Olympics, and she expected this to increase greatly with the introduction of the new programme, Get into Rugby. The initiative hopes to garner greater increase among young women. “School girls now are able to participate in rugby through the Fiji Rugby Union development programme,” she said.” “Hopefully with more players coming in there is financial support to sponsor teams and competitions so that we do not loose women to other sports.” The researchers found that despite “intense societal condemnation,” the women rugby players refused to give up. Both authors are active supporters of women’s rugby in Fiji. Kanemasu, who undertook the interviews, was directly involved in advocating for the sport and local clubs. She attended local rugby tournaments, games and training sessions and developed friendships with a number of athletes before the study commenced, when the authors were confident that a mutually trusting relationship had begun to be developed.
Call to invest in sports medicine by
Athletics coach Fesaitu Mario talks to athletes about javelin techniques at the ANZ Stadium. aPHOTO: VILIMAINA NAQELEVUKI 24
A SPORTS-mad nation like Fiji should invest in developing its sports medicine practitioners. This was the consensus held by several sports administratiors and coaches to last month. Respected sports coach Fesaitu Mario, who manages the Pacific Sports Academy, was among the professionals who held this view. He said Fiji needed to make a concerted effort to raise the quality and proficciency of its medical and first-aid support teams on the field. “We say we are crazy about sports but there are hardly any sport medicine practitioners,” he said. “Scholarships should be offered locally and internationally in these areas.” Former sprint queen Makelesi BulikioboBatimala, who is a sports development officer with the Fiji Association of Sports and National Olympic Committee (FASANOC), agreed progress was needed in this area. She said better response was needed from medical teams on the sports field.
“There is a need for improvement for more capacity-building in the area of sports injuries, prevention and treatment,” she said. However, she stressed the need for athletes to prepare well because this was the best way to avoid injuries. Athletes who prepare well are likely to be less vulnerable to injury and are bound to perform better in any competition, said the Pacific Games 100m record holder. “Athletes must be trained skillfully, be fit with the right coaching, have a proper planned diet, warm up before a training session and cool down after the competition, be aware of the training environment and equipment used and have sufficient sleep to recover well,” said Bulikiobo-Batimala. Physiotherapist Sarote Nakaora reiterated this. She said many of the sports injuries sustained were self-inflicted because athletes did not prepare well or were ignorant of how to pproperly play the sport. Injuries to the lower limbs are the most common sporting injury, said Nakaora.