The Fijian Media Association has strongly condemned comments made by former Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama outside the Magistrates Court in Suva to journalists and has labelled them as distasteful, unbecoming and unacceptable.
Bainimarama had told a Mai TV cameraman in the iTaukei language: Qarauna de dua tacaqe, a na qai caqeta yani na muna. (Meaning ‘Be careful no one stumbles, for I will then kick his backside.’)
He also told a fijivillage cameraperson ‘To watch out, you slip, and then I will kick your backside.’
Bainimarama also told a Fiji Sun photographer “kwan kwan”, a derogatory term commonly used to chase away dogs or animals.
The Association in a statement said it finds these comments highly offensive and continues to reiterate that journalists, photographers and videographers are doing an important work of informing the public, and threats of violence against them are unacceptable.
“Journalists have come through a period where they have been beaten, intimidated and abused and will not accept these threats to deter them from doing their duty.”
Bainimarama is currently standing trial with suspended Police Commissioner Brigadier-General Sitiveni Qiliho.
He is charged with a count of attempting to pervert the course of justice, while Qiliho is charged with a count of abuse of office.
The charges stem from a complaint filed by the university in July 2019 pertaining to the conduct of former staff members.
The trial continues today.