Fijians are to be blitzed with a big media advertising campaign to encourage voters to register for the promised elections in 2014. The campaign includes three television commercials with a heavy multiracial component and – naturally for Fiji – an accent on sport and a need for teamwork on and off the field.
The most startling is a clip that has a range of people of all races and ages saying simply “I’m Fijian”. It’s in line with the Government’s agenda to give all Fiji citizens a common name but will be the first time most people will have heard the phrase emanating from Indo-Fijian, European and Chinese faces. According to the producers, those who were asked to say it embraced the notion with alacrity and even a degree of emotion. But it seems bound to strike a discordant note with some indigenous Fijians or i’taukei. A recent survey by the Citizens Constitutional Forum – an independent NGO committed to constitutional compliance and education – found that only 20 per cent of indigenous people thought the term Fijian should also apply to non-indigenous people.
Yet if anything else, the ads show that the Government is serious about electoral reform and the countdown to 2014. And they’ll be welcomed by anyone who values not just talk about the multiracial ideal in Fiji but concrete action to achieve it.