The difference today is that witnesses can now take photos and video of incidents like these on their mobile phones and upload them to social media sites. There is no need for the traditional media to have journalists and cameras in the right place at the right time to get scoops on alarming incidents such as this or to publicise written reports by Amnesty International. Thanks to enterprising individuals at the scene and the power of social media, people can see the violence for themselves on their smartphones anywhere in the world.
Will the international outrage over this incident prove a turning point for Fiji?
At first blush, it would seem unlikely that this video and the reaction to it will prove decisive in redirecting the regime from its plans for Fiji or in influencing stronger international action against Fiji.
Bainimarama has responded by standing by his security forces, although Fiji's police have expressed concern (see video above) and are investigating the incident. As the experience in Papua New Guinea has shown, police violence is not necessarily related to the type of government in place, and it may not have government sanction. But at least in PNG the police force has been transparent about the extent of the problem: 623 acts of police violence were documented in 2011 and 2012. The police responsible for violence have been disciplined, with 87 dismissed for brutality since 2010 and a further 73 demoted.
As Rodger Shanahan has argued, Australia's own record of consistency in condemning acts of violence abroad is patchy. It is a similar story the world over. Bainimarama knows he can ride out international criticism by blaming NGOs and outsiders for beating up the story and focusing on the law and order challenge rather than the nature of his government's response to it. His government has been given a soft ride outside the region thanks to Fiji's intensive and creative diplomacy. None of the new diplomatic partners Fiji has been courting (China, Indonesia, Brazil, South Africa, Russia, United Arab Emirates) has voiced concerns about Fiji's domestic affairs and are unlikely to be provoked into doing so by this video.
But in an age where social media plays such an important role in influencing the thinking of young people, Bainimarama would do well to consider the implications of his management of this incident on his country's image as a tourist destination and its dependence on the tourism dollar. At time of writing, the various YouTube videos depicting the police brutality incident had notched up over 145,000 views.
It remains too early to predict the collapse of the Assad regime, or the way in which it might end, although the possibility of 'catastrophic success' on the part of the jihadist opposition is weighing on minds in Washington.
When thinking about the worldview of the Opposition Leader Bill Shorten, it is tempting to use US analogies, partly because the US electoral race is so much more intriguing than our own. Shorten is far more like Bernie Sanders than Hillary Clinton; embedded in a domestic agenda stressing fairness and redress for economic and social inequality.