Australia and New Zealand stay out of our politics

The story below is from the Sydney Morning Hearald. Well said Frank, Australia and New Zealand keep out of our internal politics, you do NOT understand Fiji or our issues.

FIJI’S military ruler, Frank Bainimarama, has called on Australia and New Zealand to stay out of the country’s affairs and defended a crackdown on the media as necessary to prevent “irritating and dark” reports that could spoil Fiji’s reputation.

In an address to the military, Commodore Bainimarama, who seized power in a bloodless coup in 2006, said the declaration last week of a 30-day state of emergency was primarily aimed at the media. Since the declaration, officials have heavily censored political stories, deported several foreign journalists and detained a Fijian reporter for 36 hours.

“The emergency regulation is specifically being placed for the media,” he said in an address translated by the Fiji One TV station, “so we can ensure they don’t bring out stories which are irritating and dark about our service in the past few years and to spoil our reputation.”

Commodore Bainimarama denounced the Court of Appeal ruling, saying the three Australian judges who heard the case had written a “52-page judgment in 24 hours”.

“It was obvious they made that decision long before they got to Fiji,” he told New Zealand’s National Radio.

“It was quite clear that all they wanted was to force us to go into elections which we didn’t want under the old system.”

Australia and New Zealand have been leading a diplomatic push across the region to suspend Fiji from the Commonwealth and the Pacific Islands Forum, which said this year the regime should prepare for elections by May 1.

Commodore Bainimarama, who wants electoral changes that he believes will end discrimination against Fiji’s Indian ethnic minority, had said he would hold elections this year but has put back the deadline to 2014.


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