31 Oct 2005

Fioji call for journalists' crisis manual

5:10 pm on 31 October 2005

A masters student and journalist is recommending that news organisations in Fiji compile a 'Crisis Manual' in case a situation similar to the 2000 coup occurs again.

Christine Gounder says there is a danger that reporting mistakes made during the 1987 and 2000 coups could be repeated.

Ms Gounder, who is writing a thesis for the Auckland University of Technology, says her work has highlighted a number of journalistic errors which could be repeated if measures are not put into place soon.

"This is because most of the experienced journalists have left, taking with them most of the institutional memory of course. Because of the poor pay conditions, most of the experienced journalists have left the profession and my concern is when these young journalists join the newsroom they will have noone to tell them that these mistakes were made in the past and if a national crisis happens again, how do we avoid that?"

Ms Gounder says a number of local reports on the coup were unbalanced while international reporters were handicapped by their lack of understanding of Fijian culture.