Report by Pacific Media Centre
Pacific Media Centre, TJ Aumua
Monday, December 7, 2015
Fiji has gained a reputation in the South Pacific for its four military coups that have forced the media to work under restrictive conditions for the past two decades. More recently the battle for media freedom in Fiji has been against the Fiji Media Industry Development Decree 2010. The controversial and highly debated Decree threatens Fiji media with excessive fines, jail terms and places them under the surveillance of a statuary body, the Media Industry Development Authority. The impact of the Decree has led to some of Fiji’s long-established news outlets being criticised for publishing soft news that favours the government.
However, new political and current affairs magazine, Repúblika, established in 2012, has anecdotally published hard news without facing any government repercussions. Its editor and publisher, Ricardo Morris, has stated Repúblika is “pushing the boundaries” and claimed the magazine will bring “credibility back to Fiji media”. This case study analyses the editorial philosophy of Repúblika and compares it to the editorial philosophies of Fiji Broadcasting Corporation, The Fiji Times and USP student newspaper Wansolwara. This is done to seek what has enabled Repúblika to publish hard news under a military backed media decree.
This research explores what elements of Repúblika’s editorial philosophy are different to the longer-established media outlets in Fiji and whether the magazine is an example of how journalism in the island nation can be improved.