Michael Hartsell

My name is Michael Hartsell. Presently I work as a project manager at a public relations firm near Seattle, Washington. I studied Communication & Media at a university in Australia. Ok, actually a few universities. I fell in love with Fiji when I first traveled there in 1998.

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Latest posts by Michael Hartsell

Fiji: President announces retirement

  31 July 2009

Forum posters and bloggers are reacting to the announcement that Fiji’s president will step down. Ratu Josefa Iloilovatu Uluivuda announced his retirement after nearly nine years in office. At 88, he leaves office as the world’s oldest statesman.

Fiji: Tension rises between government and Methodist Church

  27 July 2009

The months-long standoff between Fiji’s government and the country’s largest Christian denomination became more heated last week when police arrested, held and later charged seven Methodist Church officials and a high-ranking chief for “incitement” and infringing on emergency rules regarding meetings.

Fiji finds foreign friends?

  17 July 2009

Leaders of Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands will lobby the 15-member Pacific Islands Forum to consider lifting Fiji’s suspension to re-start dialogue with the country to provide its military backed government time to complete reforms.

Why did Thailand’s former PM travel to Fiji?

  17 July 2009

Bloggers are debating the significance of the recent trip of Thailand’s ousted Prime Minister to Fiji and Tonga. Fiji and Thailand have no extradition treaties, fueling speculation that the former Thai leader traveled to the Pacific looking for asylum.

Fiji: The fall of movie pirates

  10 July 2009

With Fiji’s government cracking down on outlets selling pirated DVDs, L. Cass pens a piece in Failed Paradise criticizing these “cheating” retailers but also lamenting their downfall

Fiji: Journalism schools’ standards questioned

  10 July 2009

A second journalism school has opened in Fiji, this one at the Fiji Institute of Technology. But given “the climate of censorship and media paranoia in post-putsch Fiji,” media educator David Robie in his Café Pacific blog argues the standards of these new programs should face heavy scrutiny.

Fiji: A roadmap towards elections?

  24 June 2009

Fiji’s Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama told an audience his government will soon begin work on the country’s new constitution and a “road map” to elections set to take place in 2014. He didn’t provide a timetable, or framework, but it is the first signs of the country gaining a new political and social code since April, when the President annulled the country’s 1997 Constitution.

The right to know in Fiji

  4 June 2009

Jonathan, the writer of the blog Oceanic: User Experiences from the South Pacific reports on a consumer complaint against his Fiji-based advertising agency stating that his advert for a local ISP attempts to benefit from the Swine Flu epidemic (now called H1N1) by misleading consumers into thinking internet service “is...

Fiji: Five taxicab conversations

  4 June 2009

Most taxi drivers in Suva, Fiji are quiet and uneventful. Every so often, however, you'll run into the driver who is the anti-barman, reports Paradise Fiji Blog. Instead of listening to your problems, these drivers are full of opinions and stories. Here lie five topics you'll most likely hear in...

Fiji: ‘A Christian state'?

  3 June 2009

Fiji’s government has canceled this year’s conference of the Methodist church, claiming the week-long meeting would foster instability. The move was announced from a statement from government police and military forces, arguing that “inciteful issues are going to be discussed at the conference.” Fiji’s Methodists gather each August at a...

Fiji: Reaction to detention of alleged bloggers

  25 May 2009

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 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.

Fiji: Police detain, seize laptops of three suspected bloggers

  22 May 2009

Police in Fiji detained three local lawyers and seized their laptops, supposedly because of a possible connection to a popular anti-government blog. The lawyers, Richard Naidu, Jon Apted and Tevita Fa were taken into custody Tuesday, May 19, held for a few hours and then released

Fiji: EU cancels 2009 sugar subsidy

  21 May 2009

The European Union announced that it was suspending 2009 payment of 24 million Euro in subsidies to help prop up Fiji’s sugar industry. European Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid, Louis Michel, admitted Fiji would have received the payment if it would have had a “legitimate government” in place. He...

Fiji: Convicted soldiers freed on supervision plan

  14 May 2009

Fiji’s government admitted that eight soldiers and one policeman who had been found guilty of manslaughter have been released from prison, two months into their four-year sentences. A government spokesman said the Minister of Justice ordered their release under a compulsory supervision order, which allows certain criminals to serve the remainder of their sentences outside of prison

Fiji: Bloggers debate media censorship

  11 May 2009

As reported here last week, Fiji’s government extended for another 30 days its “emergency regulations” that, among other things, controls public gatherings and forbids the media from printing stories that “undermine the Government and the State of Fiji.” These rules allow the Permanent Secretary of Information the ability to place censors in newsrooms, accompanied by plainclothes policeman.

Fiji: Pacific Islands Forum membership had its privileges

  4 May 2009

Since Fiji's government refused to schedule elections, the country has been suspended from the Pacific Islands Forum. Fiji’s suspension marks the first time in its nearly four-decade history the Pacific Islands Forum has taken this step against a country.

Fiji faces suspension from Pacific Islands Forum

  1 May 2009

Fiji passes a deadline set by the Pacific Islands Forum to schedule elections to be held this year or be kicked from the regional group. The group stated that if Fiji does not meed the deadline, the country would be suspended from all Forum events and cease receiving any new financial and technical assistance.

Fiji: New rule creates thousands of retirees

  28 April 2009

A recent government decree in Fiji orders all civil servants 55 years and older must retire Thursday, April 30. The new rules affect any person working within Fiji’s government, police force and prisons service. Previously, those workers would be employed until turning 60.

Fiji's expats create democratic movement

  26 April 2009

A group of ethnic Fijians living in Australia pledged support for Fiji’s return to democracy and called on Australia’s and New Zealand’s governments to apply more political and economic pressure to the new order of Frank Bainimarama. Members of the meeting also called on people of Fiji living elsewhere to help support the country’s political restoration.

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