Favourable media coverage for ruling party noted

Media personnel covering an event in Suva on Tuesday, May 03, 2022. Picture: JONACANI LALAKOBAU/FILE

The FijiFirst party received the most favourable media coverage during the 2018 elections, states the report “National Media Reporting of the 2018 Fijian General Elections” released on Thursday by Dialogue Fiji.

Authors Dr Shailendra Singh and Nilesh Lal said four media organisations — Fiji Sun, FBC (TV and radio), Fiji Television Ltd and Communications Fiji Ltd (CFL) gave more exposure to the incumbent FijiFirst party.

“The only exception was The Fiji Times, whose coverage could be deemed to be comparatively less approving of the ruling party and also less critical of the challenger parties,” states the report.

“Besides comparatively extensive and favourable coverage in the Fiji Sun, FijiFirst made more appearances on the major national television stations, FBC and Fiji One, as well as on the CFL radio stations and news website.

“The quotation gap with the challenger parties was quite significantly in FijiFirst’s favour and the way the national debates were structured and conducted were also to the advantage of the incumbent party.

“The fact that much of the reporting was positive is an irregularity of sorts, considering that as the party holding the reins of power, FijiFirst was expected to come under greater scrutiny, in the line with media’s widely accepted dictum, ‘watchdog of government’.

“But this was not quite the case.”

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