Pacific Media Centre Pacific Media Watch Pacific Journalism Review Pacific Scoop

Honest Iago? A media and academic freedom case study

Volume 21, Issue 1

May, 2015

From page
142
to page
150
Craddock, P. (2015). Honest Iago? A media and academic freedom case study. Pacific Journalism Review, 21(1): 142-150.
FIJI
Author(s): Patrick Craddock
Publication date: 
May, 2015

This case study involves issues of academic freedom and media freedom at the regional University of the South Pacific (USP) in a dispute between the senior administration of the university and two journalism lecturers over the impact of media releases and media comments made between May and July 2014, about the military-backed government and the right to freedom of expression. In May 2014, just four months before Fiji’s post-coup general election, a student at USP, suddenly and unexpectedly, had his scholarship cancelled. As a result, USP student journalists wrote a radio news story, which was broadcast on the USP radio station Radio Pasifik. A few days later, the scholarship was reinstated. Shortly afterwards, the USP journalism lecturers issued a joint media release criticising the military government on two issues: (1) their support of torture; and (2) the refusal of accreditation for two senior Fiji journalists to attend an international conference being held in Nadi. This action brought the two lecturers into an acrimonious dialogue with the USP administration. The article reviews the media coverage and examines the issue from the perspective of the head of the journalism programme.