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Fiji media consultant



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MINISTER FOR

FOREIGN AFFAIRS

No.

M79

Date

6 J u l y 1982

NEWS RELEASE THE HON. TONY STREET, M.P.

* 4

F I J I MEDIA CONSULTANT

The M i n i s t e r f o r Forei gn A f f a i r s / the Hon. Tony S t r e e t MPz

sai d today t h a t the A u s t r a l i a n Government' s agreement to fund the

appointment by the F i j i Government of a media communications

c o n s u l t a n t had been gi ven in response to a F i j i Government r e q u e s t /

and a subsequent recommendation from the A u s t r a l i a n Development

As si st ance Bureau in f avour of the p r o p o s a l . Fol l owi ng t h i s

a p p r o v a l / the F i j i Government had r e c r u i t e d Mr C l i v e Speed to the

p o s i t i o n .

The M i n i s t e r sai d t h a t b e f or e a gr ee i ng to the A u s t r a l i a n

Development As si st ance Bur eau' s recommendation he had given i n s t r u c t i o n s t h a t the c o n s u l t a n t would act in a t r a i n i n g and

a d v i s o r y c a p a c i t y onl y and t h a t F i j i n a t i o n a l s would at a l l times

c a r r y out the f u n c t i o n of press spokesman. The agreement with the

F i j i Government on the c o n s u l t a n t ' s d u t i e s made i t c l e a r t h a t he

had a p u b l i c s e r v i c e r o l e / not a p a r t y p o l i t i c a l one.

Mr S t r e e t sai d t h a t the Government' s agreement to fund the

appointment of a media communications c o n s u l t a n t recognised the

concerns of devel opi ng c o u n t r i e s about the need to improve Government

to people communi cati ons. A Commonwealth e x p e r t committee r e por t on

"Communication/ So c i e t y and Development" endorsed by CHOGM in Mel bour ne/ had poi nt ed to the need f o r dev el o pi ng c o u n t r i e s and

ai d d o n o r s . t o gi ve a p p r o p r i a t e p r i o r i t y to the needs of the

communication s e c t o r in c o n s i d e r i n g r equests f o r a i d . The M i n i s t e r

sai d t h a t the d e c i s i o n to fund the appointment of a media communications

c o n s u l t a n t f o l l o we d and was f u l l y in accordance wi t h the exper t

commi t t ee' s recommendation.

Mr S t r e e t sai d t h a t the F i j i Government had on two pr evi ous

occasi ons assured the A u s t r a l i a n High Commission in Suva t h a t the

c o n s u l t a n t was not engaged in e l e c t i o n campaigning nor in the

p r e p a r a t i o n of p o l i t i c a l m a t e r i a l . The F i j i M i n i s t r y of I n f o r m a t i o n

had al so made a p u b l i c st at ement on 30 June s e t t i n g out t heĀ·, a c t i vi t i es

whi ch had been u n d e r t a k e n by Mr Speed. The M i n i s t e r s a i d t h a t

f o l l o w i n g comments on t h e a p p o i n t me n t i n t h e A u s t r a l i a n medi a

o v e r t h e we e k e nd/ he had i n s t r u c t e d t h e A u s t r a l i a n Hi gh Commi ssi on

i n Suva t o a g a i n o b t a i n a s s u r a n c e s f r om t h e F i j i Gover nment about

t h e a c t i v i t i e s o f t h e medi a c o n s u l t a n t .

Mr S t r e e t s a i d t h a t t h e F i j i Gover nment had r esponded on

5 J u l y t h a t t h e c o n s u l t a n t was w o r k i n g s t r i c t l y w i t h i n ' t h e t er ms of

h i s a p p o i n t me n t and had not bee n i n v o l v e d i n t h e p r e p a r a t i o n of

campai gn m a t e r i a l . They had e mpha si s ed t h a t t h e c o n s u l t a n t had

been c a r e f u l t o a v o i d any i n v o l v e m e n t i n l o c a l p o l i t i c a l i s s u e s

or i n t h e h a n d l i n g o f p o l i t i c a l m a t e r i a l as t h e e l e c t i o n campai gn

d e v e l o p e d and had had n o t h i n g t o do w i t h t h e p r e p a r a t i o n of e l e c t i o n

campai gn s p e e c h e s . The F i j i a n a u t h o r i t i e s a l s o s a i d t h a t t he work

whi ch had been c a r r i e d out by t h e c o n s u l t a n t had i n c l u d e d d e v e l o p me n t

of syst ems f o r t h e d i s s e m i n a t i o n o f gov er nment d e c i s i on' s and

a n n o u n c e me n t s / t h e p l a n n i n g o f a v i d e o s e r v i c e / t h e t r a i n i n g of

__ /2

2.

information o f f i c e r s and the preparation of a film to promote

sugar sales.

Mr Street said that while various claims and counterclaims

were i n e v i ta b ly made in the heat of ele ct io n campaigns in democratic

countries assurances had now been received on three separate occasions

from the F i j i a n Government t h a t ' t h e consultant's a c t i v i t i e s had been

within the guidelines set down at the time of his appointment.

The Minister said fu rth e r that he had no intention of

responding to statements made by public servants# whose job i t was

to submit advice and then carry out Government decisions.

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