The article below is an extract from Crosbie Walsh’s web site Visit http://www.crosbiew.blogspot.com/ for more information
Last year the NZ Broadcasting Standards Authority agreed his (Michael Field) comments against then Fiji attorney-general Christopher Pryde on a March 7 broadcast were an “uneducated, ill-informed, deeply biased, unbalanced, and false account of recent events in Fiji.” For more such comments, most of which contain highly personal, insulting, and one would think libellous remarks about almost every current pro-Government figure.
This once respected journalist on Pacific Affairs seems bent on destroying his own reputation for independent, informed and balanced commentary by a stream of one-sided, highly personalised articles on Fiji. He also seems to have launched himself on a personal crusade against Bainimarama.
Witness, for example, his latest comment “Warrant to Arrest:Fiji.”
This could have been an informed account of the Fiji Registrar of the High Court taking files from the offices of the Fiji Law Society.
Instead, he starts his “comment” with a hyperbolic comparison between Bainimarama and Burmese generals, Robert Mugabe and Augusto Pinocet, dictators responsible for the deaths of many thousands. He then proceeds to warn Bainimarama, who like Pinochet apparently also suffers a heart condition, that he may soon be unable to travel overseas for treatment.
These — one would think irrelevant — side swipes lead to an short account of the Court Registrar, Ana Rokomakoti, uplifting Fiji Law Society records for investigation. Field claimed to know she had no valid search warrant, and seemed to infer that because she was an army lawyer she should not also be the Registrar. This is an important story that may (or may not) be further evidence of unnecessary (or necessary) Government clamp-downs, Fiji Law Society intransigence, or both or neither. The opportunity was lost. Field preferred venom to vigour.
Here are three examples of the sort of argument and language he used.
“She does this, nominally at least, as Registrar of the High Court. But no one is overlooking the fact that she is a Major in the Fiji Military and is subservient to its head, the self appointed dictator of Fiji …”
“When the military are raiding lawyers, there is no justice left …”
“… sending some major into lawyers’ offices is military routine.”
This man, with many years of Pacific experience, produces a warped view of an important event, and not for the first time.
This is what he says about himself in his blog (my underlining):
“Published author on the Pacific, including the definitive account on Samoa’s independence struggle and Fiji ’s coup culture.
Radio New Zealand National Radio commentator on Pacific affairs and sought by international media for an intimate knowledge of the history, politics, characters and issues of the region.
It is not a pleasant task pulling someone down from their former high heights, but New Zealanders need to be better served by their journalists if they are ever to understand even a little of what is happening in Fiji. Field’s personal attacks on individuals may befit a blogger, but not a responsible journalist.