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Wednesday 23 Aug 2017 | 20:10 | SYDNEY
Wednesday 23 Aug 2017 | 20:10 | SYDNEY

Fiji's blogosphere

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8 April 2010 10:27

As I mentioned in a previous post, the blogosphere has special significance for Fiji as it has become the major source of news on political events. I've heard more than a few comments suggesting that Fiji-focused blogs cannot be relied on for accuracy, and I have to admit that I spend more time checking the facts they present than I do reading them. 

Nevertheless, Fiji's blogosphere will grow in importance when Fiji's military government introduces its new Media Decree, so I was thinking of posting a blogroll of websites on Fiji with a bit of analysis on which sites are useful and which are not. But I see today that the Fiji Ministry of Information has beaten me to it. 

According to Fiji Today's blog, the Ministry has provided a list of websites to IT staff in public service agencies so that searches of the sites could be monitored.

I have no independent evidence to support Fiji Today's information that the Fiji Government considers all these sites, the vast majority of which are blogs, to be subversive or dangerous. I agree with Fiji Today, however, that blogs such as Croz Walsh (generally balanced but, by Crosbie Walsh's own admission, mildly pro-regime), Babasiga (Fijian cultural focus), Stuck in the Fiji M.U.D. (pro-government and occasional anti-Australia/New Zealand stance), or Real Fiji News (pro-government and no longer active) could hardly be labelled subversive.

If they are not all anti-government websites, why would the Ministry create a list like this, assuming that Fiji Today's information is accurate? 

Many of these blogs are based outside Fiji, so the Fiji Government is not in a position to close them down, even though technically it could perhaps restrict access to them within Fiji. I can understand why any government would be concerned about its own public servants posting criticism of it on blogs, but surely reading them is not an offence? Maybe the Ministry of Information is really seeking statistics on how many of Fiji’s public servants seek news about their own government from blogs or are surfing the internet while they should be working.

Whatever the Ministry's intention, it has produced a decent list of Fiji-focused websites, which thanks to Fiji Today's publication, is a useful tool for Fiji-watchers, not to mention good publicity for the bloggers themselves. I can only think of two sites it has missed: Café Pacific and this useful New Zealand news site, Pacific Scoop.

Photo by Flickr user julian-, used under a Creative Commons license.

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