Fiji: Reaction to detention of alleged bloggers

Global Voices previously reported that Fiji police detained and seized the laptops of three people who had been named as bloggers behind the anti-government site Raw Fiji News.

The three lawyers, among others, had recently been named by the pro-government site Real Fiji News. While police confirmed the detentions and laptop seizures, a spokesman would not say why the three men were hauled in. All three have been released, but no word as yet on their laptops.

Regardless of the reasons behind the detentions – or the veracity of the claims the men actually blog for Raw Fiji News – let’s begin with why Real Fiji News named names.

In its post that claims lawyer Richard Naidu allegedly blogs for the anti-government site, Real Fiji News attacks the Raw Fiji News blog.

They have destroyed lives of people who they call ‘Coup Apologists’ they have lied about the state of the economy, they have lied about business deals, lied about money gained under false pretenses, lies about uprisings of Fijians, lied about the Military, lied about the Government. It is so easy to hide behind a blog site and spew out lie after lie. This site has KEPT YOU UPDATED WITH THE TRUTH, and we have proven time and time again that Raw Fiji’s only intention is to incite violence and unrest in the country and all done at the hands of some of our legal profession.

A reader called Boo Boo writing in Real Fiji News after the detentions had been announced.

What they thought was informative and intelligent has backfired not only on themselves, but on the entire country in more ways than one. Their opinions and comments have been read by many who would have loved to have visited Fiji some day, but won’t because they now view Fiji in a negative light. These potential visitors will not come here now! Thanks to these folks. The gaping hole in our economy that was once our tourism industry is their legacy. This has affected thousands of hotel workers and their families. Leave alone the world economic crisis, these bloggers have done their bit for Fiji. Well done, bastards!

Fiji Girl says the government is barking up the wrong tree by detaining the three men.

So the illegal regime and Real Fiji News think that Richard Naidu, Jon Apted and Tevita Fa are bloggers?
Talk about not being able to see one’s own nose! Real Fiji News especially should know by now that REAL bloggers, like yours truly, are not the movers and shakers of the movement. Like the faceless drones behind Real Fiji News, we are commentators, observers – voyeurs, if you will – and, since the death of our media freedom, ersatz reporters.
People like Richard Naidu, Jon Apted, Tevita Fa, Dorsami Naidu, Shamima Ali, Virisila Buadromo are too busy out there DOING the good deeds to have the time or inclination to then write about them and spend countless hours bitching online about the illegal regime. Like we bloggers do. They have better ways to spend their time.
We bloggers have our duty – I like to think an important one – in bringing down this illegal regime through channelling information, fuelling support and keeping the debate alive. But, like the Judean People’s Front, we ain’t necessarily where the action is.
It must have been quite a bitch-slap to the face after they hauled in the real lawyers, accused of blogging, up to camp to find that suddenly every blog site reported their detention.

TeeJay for a Free Fiji argues the detentions prove that bloggers are rattling the regime.

News that the Illegal Regime have hauled in, and since released, two lawyers suspected of being behind the Raw Fiji blog site, indicates that the blogs are having an impact.

Whatever the status of the involvement of Richard Naidu and Jon Apted is irrelevant to the fact that the Illegal Regime will have NO success in stopping bloggers.

To the brave and wonderful people inside Fiji who are blogging away, may God bless you for your efforts in the curent climate within the country. Keep it up, because it is working!! Even though a small percentage of Fijians will see the blogs, the key is for those who do, they need to pass on the information to as many people as possible.

Meanwhile, those of us outside Fiji are with you all the way, thinking of you every day, right behind you, doing what we can to assist, no matter how small that may be.

Raw Fiji News lets the police wonder if they had the wrong people.

What does the Fiji military police know about technology?
If their computer experts think they’re such gurus at tracking down bloggers like us, then perhaps coming down to our side of the woods will solve their problem.
But their problem is that they’re all banned from travelling to our turf cause they are coup aliens marked with “restricted from entering our soil”.
Sorry guys, Richard Naidu and Jon Apted are the wrong people!
Don’t waste your time hauling people randomly or closing internet cafes, etc,etc – we will continue to blog on telling it like it is!

From New Zealand, the blogger behind Fiji: The Way It Is, Was and Can Be – previously critical of some of Fiji’s anti-government blogs – tells the government to let the bloggers keep writing.

Justice needs to be seen to be done. Blanket clamp-downs convey the wrong message, and deprive Government of the feedback, advice and opinions it needs to achieve its longer-term goals. In today's Fiji, unrestrained opposition and totally gagged opposition are both equally unhealthy and equally dangerous.


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