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ABC newsman to cover September 17 poll

Mere Naleba
Wednesday, May 21, 2014

AUSTRALIAN Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) correspondent Liam Fox is in the country for two weeks to conduct interviews on how the country is building up to the September 17 General Election.

Fox, a Papua New Guinea correspondent for ABC, yesterday was at the University of the South Pacific where he shared his media experiences with journalism students at the university.

Fox said apart from being assigned to cover the build-up to the election, he was also interested in finding out whether reports of a blanket ban still placed on the Fijian media was true.

"I'm also here to see what the media environment is all about," he said.

"I think it's pretty common knowledge there have been concerns that the media is not fully able to do its job in an impartial and objective manner.

"So once again talking to both sides of the argument, people who say that's the case and those that say no that's not the case."

Fox said although he was not able to talk to Prime Minister Rear Admiral (Ret) Voreqe Bainimarama, he managed to interview Minister for Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation Dr Jiko Luveni and the Supervisor of Elections, Mohammed Saneem.

"I'm here for the elections, to see what the political climate is like, to see the preparations for the elections to speak to both people who are supportive of the government, people who are critical of the government," he said.

"To gauge what people think about, if the elections are going to be free and fair, to see both sides of the argument.

"Also to speak to opposition parties how they are campaigning and if they are facing any difficulty in campaigning."

The result of his findings will be aired by the Australian media organisation in a week's time and Fox said part of his assignment was to interview those who made up the government, to see how government policies were addressed and how were they being implemented.

"There seems to be a general feeling that the Prime Minister (Rear Admiral Bainimarama) will win, a lot of people support him and that is interesting from an Australian point of view so yeah, we are just talking to as many people as we can to see what the situation is," he said

Fox was also part of the media group accompanying the SODELPA when the latter visited Bau Island to seek permission from Bau chiefs to campaign.

"It's been good, I've been able to speak to so many people, some NGOs, some government people, some journalists," he said.

"I haven't gone outside of Suva except to Bau Island with SODELPA; there isn't much time in this trip to go out of Suva and to speak to people outside of Suva."

He hopes to return to Fiji on September 17 to cover the General Election.





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