22 Jun 2010

Fiji officials' reaction to email warning of disaster in line with emergency regulations

8:02 pm on 22 June 2010

A senior Pacific Studies lecturer at the University of Auckland says the reaction by Fiji authorities to an email warning of a disaster this Wednesday appears excessive but is in line with emergency regulations.

The Fiji Rugby Union chairman, Bill Gavoka, was taken in for questioning after he forwarded an email to tourism operators predicting an earthquake and tsunamion June 23rd.

The warning came from Pastor Laione Lutumaimuri Nacevamaca and has been widely circulated

Dr Steven Ratuva says the military is aware that rumours are a very powerful means for changing the mood of the country.

"What the government should do about rumours is really just to engage with it, to respond to it, and just say that these are rumours created by people who don't have much by way of intellect or whatever. Rather than arresting them. Rather than imposing much more physically coercive means of control."

A senior Pacific Lecturer at the University of Auckland Dr Steven Ratuva,