Millenium forced off Fiji TV

To the editor (of The Daily Post - one of 2 Fiji newspapers),

This is in regard to the fuss raised by the Minister for Communications, in response to the complaint by his associate, the Minister for Finance.

Re: Millenium on Fiji TV.

Firstly, I would like to state the appalling standards of newspaper presentation and accuracy in this country by both papers as shameful. Isn't there any work pride amongst you?

That aside, I must commend the Daily Post for a sensible Opinion on Sunday, in addition to the better written article on Friday, over the Millenium episode matter (and generally of late).

I would like to add to the Opinion in the Sunday Post:

Apart from those (thought followed by action-provoking) questions and statements (I hope), I'd like to conclude with a few suggestions...

In hindsight, Fiji One should have produced a special (extra) warning about the specific content of the episode; shown it at a later timeslot, if pulling the particular episode was unsatisfactory and would have contravened the programming agreement if any; show the series at a later timeslot anyway (those puppets at 8pm don't say anything to me).

For the Ministry to complain after the fact is a bit hypocritical - if they are really concerned and altruistic (I think not as the Minister is he himself trying to get rid of Fiji TV), be the sole censor, and watch EVERY program before it screens, rather than have us listen to your uninformed diatribes.

If a watchdog/guideline body was in place, and somehow a program gets through and really does OFFEND the multitudes, a fine may be imposed on Fiji TV - there is no point banning something if it has already done the 'damage'.

Furthermore, go to your nearest video store, or cinema and really see General Exhibition at work - blood, guts, full on copulation and nudity, violence, with NO censorship enforcement whatsoever, and people PAY to watch it. The vendors are happy - no one (referring to government) complains, and they're getting richer (both operators, and Government via taxes). I mean, what is with the insipid rating of R13? Even the liberal USA rates and ENFORCES equivalent movies to 17 year olds!

Parents (watching TV) are the ones responsible for switching OFF episodes like last Monday's Millenium if they see fit to do so. That is the power of individual democracy.

Do not make a fool of yourself with the excuse of cultural sensitivity, because soon enough I might complain that the existence of Government Ministers is dentrimental to my cultural sensitivity, or the 'people' who you so freely refer to, may use it as an excuse for failure, or do they already?

If you want a blatant case of cultural insensitivity, one only has to have watched/heard the remarks by an award presenter for Song Of The Year at the Vakalutuivoce Awards which replayed on Fiji One yesterday. "Thank God it's an easy name (to pronounce)!"...Did that go unnoticed (I wasn't here at the time)? Even I cringed (having an 'easier' name), when I heard that. Or am I being too sensitive, or was it a joke in bad taste?

And yes, issues that the episode/program dealt with does occur in 'our' society, if you care to open your eyes, or is that none of your concern?

Millenium is a program that I prefer over something like Melrose Place anyday, with its lovely opening theme, and thought provoking fiction/drama and photography (ok, MP has a catchy theme). Why else does the Minister for Finance watch it? Is it just for the 'near pornography', or did he feel he didn't have a choice? Bear in mind that this show evolved from the creators of the X-Files - a popular fiction series; and Fiji is a society which craves on a high level of entertainment.

I would say that the program will only become more popular thanks to both Ministers, nothing like free publicity. Even I didn't know which program they were making a fuss about when the Fiji Times first reported it; I thought it was some local program which was too horrible to mention (J...just kidding), maybe RTR.

The media is an evolving one, which you cannot avoid, and should mould pragmatically, with informative promos and definitely better production and presentation (here in Fiji; I applaud those who try) - and easily switch off, not watch, not listen, not read.

It is YOUR choice, or do you want to forever have your 'parents' tell you what you can or cannot do?

Let me know if anyone below 16 reads this, and if the Minister learns to communicate (well) - we're all paying his salary after all...part of how our society works.

As far as Millenium goes, I am an adult with a right to watch an AO program if I CHOOSE to do so. Parents, exercise your rights to restrict viewing of ANY program you see fit, from your children; I don't think the ratings/censorship in this country holds up to anything.

These comments are entirely my own opinion.

'Erin "Steve" Antrim'
Media/Entertainment Analyst
Suva (and the Internet - RMM newsfeed)

ps. Fiji TV did issue a good press release (stating that the compliance with the ban order was so that its licence was not put in jeopardy), which The Fiji Times printed on Tuesday; only to conveniently ignore it and naively state in its editorial that Fiji TV was wimping out.